0) ^ ^
University of California Berkeley
The Joseph M. Bransten
Coffee and Tea Collection
A TREATISE ' /
ADULTERATIONS OF FOOD,
BREAD, BEER, WINE, SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS, TEA, COFFEE,
Cream, Confectionery, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles,
AND OTHER ARTICLES EMPLOYED IN DOMESTIC ECONOMV.
of tretetting tfjenu
Kin6s C . IVTT.
77/E SECOND EDITION.
BY FREDRICK ACCUM,
Operative Chemist, Lecturer on Practical Chemistry, Mineralogy, and on Chemistry
applied to the Arts and Manufactures ; Member of the Royal Irish Academy ;
Fellow of the Linnaean Society; Member of the Royal Academy of
Sciences, and of the Royal Society of Arts of Berlin, &c. &c.
31 outs on :
OLD BY LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND 'BROWN,
THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND.
MY LORD DUKE,
The interest your Grace takes-on
all occasions in promoting the application
of Chemical Philosophy to the useful pur-
poses of life, has emboldened me to lay
before you the present Treatise, which ori-
ginated in a suggestion of your Grace,
while cultivating the study of Experimental
Chemistry in my Laboratory.,
Be pleased, My Lord Duke, to
accept this public testimony of profound
respect and veneration for your Grace's
exalted moral virtues and high intellectual
That your Grace may retain 9
through a long and happy life, the ardent
attachment to the pursuits of Philosophical
Chemistry, which has so greatly endeared
your renowned name to the votaries of that
important and useful branch of knowledge ^
is the sincere wish oj}
MY LORD DUKE,
Your Grace's most devoted,
Old Compton Street, Soho.
January the 19th,
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Old Compton Street, Sola.
THIS Treatise, as its title expresses, is intended
to exhibit easy methods of detecting the fraudu-
lent adulterations of food, and of other arti-
cles, classed either among the necessaries or
luxuries of the table ; and to put the unwary on
their guard against the use of such commodities
as are contaminated with substances deleterious
Every person is aware that bread, beer, wine,
and other substances employed in domestic econo-
my, are frequently met with in an adulterated
state : and the late convictions of numerous in-
dividuals for counterfeiting and adulterating tea,
coffee, bread, beer, pepper, and other articles of
diet, are still fresh in the memory of the public.
To such perfection of ingenuity has the system
of counterfeiting and adulterating various com-
modities of life arrived in this country, that spu-
rious articles are every where to be found in the
market, made up so skilfully, as to elude the dis-
crimination of the most experienced judges.
But of all possible nefarious traffic and decep-
tion, practised by mercenary dealers, that of adul-
terating the articles intended for human food with
ingredients deleterious to health, is the most cri-
minal, and, in the mind of every honet man, must
excite feelings of regret and disgust. Numerous
facts are on record, of human food, contaminated
with poisonous ingredients, having been vended
to the public ; and the annals of medicine record
tragical events ensuing from the use of such
The eagar and insatiable thirst for gain, is proof
against prohibitions and penalties ; and the pos-
sible sacrifice of a fellow-creature's life, is a
secondary consideration among unprincipled
However invidious the office may appear, and
however painful the duty may be of exposing
the names of individuals, who have been con-
victed of adulterating food ; yet it was necessary,
for the verification of my statement, that cases
should be adduced in their support : and I have
carefully avoided citing any, except those which
are authenticated in Parliamentary documents
and other public records.
To render this Treatise still more useful, I
have also animadverted on certain material errors,
sometimes unconsciously committed through ac-
cident or ignorance, in private families, during
the preparation of various articles of food, and of
delicacies for the table.
In stating the experimental proceedings neces-
ary for the detection of the frauds which it has
been my object to expose, I have confined myself
to the task of pointing out such operations only
as may be performed by persons unacquainted
with chemical science; and it has been my
purpose to express all necessary rules and instruc-
tions in the plainest language, divested of those
recondite terms of science, which would be out
of place in a work intended for general peru-
The design of the Treatise will be fully an-
swered, if the views here given should induce a
single reader to pursue the object for which it
is published ; or if it should tend to impress on
the mind of the Public the magnitude of an evil,
which, in many cases, prevails to an extent so
alarming, that we may exclaim, with the sons of
" TO&m to Heat?) m t&* pot/'
For the abolition of such nefarious practices, it
is the interest of all classes of the community to
THE sale of one thousand copies of the
Treatise on the Adulterations of Food, within
one month after its publication, has been a
sufficient inducement to reprint the work.
Several additions have been made to
the edition now presented to the reader;
among which will be noticed, the adultera-
tion of milk of cinnamon of isinglass of
Spanish liquorice juice, and of several other
articles employed in housekeeping, with the
methods of detecting the frauds. Some
animadversions have also been made on the
disgusting practice of inflating butchers'
meat and fish ; and on the frauds committed
in the coal trade.
I embrace this opportunity of offering my
public expression of thanks for the flattering
compliments which I have received from
numerous individuals of high rank and dig-
nified station, and from other distinguished
persons, whose opinion and judgment I re-
spect. To those who have chosen anony-
mously to transmit to me their opinion
concerning this book, together with their
maledictions, I have little to say ; but they
may rest assured, that their menaces will
in no way prevent me from endeavour-
ing to put the unwary on their guard against
Ihe frauds of dishonest men, wherever they
may originate ; and those assailants in am-
bush are hereby informed, that, in every
succeeding edition of the work, I shall con-
tinue to hand down to posterity the infamy
which justly attaches to the knaves and
dishonest dealers, who have been convicted
at the bar of Public Justice of rendering
human food deleterious to health.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON
THE ADULTERATIONS OF
ADULTERATIONS OF DRUGS
AND MEDICINES, and method
of detecting them 15
Adulteration of Peruvian Bark .... 16
Adulteration of Rhubard Powder,
Ipecacuanha, $c 17
Adulteration of Spirit of Hartshorn,
and method of detecting it 19
Adulteration of Magnesia, and me*
thod of detecting it 20
Adulteration of Calcined Magnesia,
and method of detecting it 21
Adulteration of Calomel, and method
of detecting it , 22
Adulteration of Syrup of Buckthorn,
Worm-Seed, and Arrow Root Pow-
Adulteration of Essential Oils, and
methods of detecting it 2
ADULTERATION OF PAINTERS'
COLOURS, and methods of detect-
ing it 26
Adulteration of Ultramarine, and
method of detecting it 27
Adulteration of Carmine, and method
of detecting it , . ib.
Adulteration of Madder and Carmine
Lake, and method of detecting it .. ib.
Adulteration of Antwerp Blue, and
method of detecting it ib.
Adulteration of Chrome Yellow, and
method of detecting it ib.
Adulteration of White Lead, and
method of detecting it ib.
Adulteration of Vermillion, and me-
thod of detecting it ib.
ADULTERATION OF VARIOUS
ARTICLES USED IN HOUSE-
Adulteration of Soap, $c ib.
FRAUDS PRACTISED IN THE
COAL TRADE 31
DISGUSTING PRACTICE OF
MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY,
General Remarks on the Adultera-
tion of Food 41
IMPORTANCE OF THE PURITY
OF WATER EMPLOYED IN
DOMESTIC ECONOMY 43
Characters of Good Water 49
Easy method of curing Hard Water 5"2
Chemical Constitution of the Waters
used in Domestic Econony and the
Rain Water ib.
Snow Water.. 54
Spring Water , , 56
River Water 60
Thames Water 62
Substances usually contained in Com-
mon Water, and Tests by which
they are detected 66
Deleterious Effects of keeping Water
for Domestic Economy, in Leaden
Reservoirs r% ; 74
Method of detecting Lead in Water.. 86
ADULTERATION OF WINE 92
Crusting of Wine Bottles, and other
nefarious Artifices committed by
fraudulent Wine Merchants 96
Dangerous Adulteration of Wine with
poisonous Substances 102
Accidental Impregnation of Wine
with Lead. 105
Test for detecting the deleterious
Adulterations of Wine 108
Method of detecting extraneous Co-
lours in Red Wine.... Ill
Specific Differences of various kinds
of foreign Wines , 113
Chemical Constitution and Component
Parts of Wine. 115
Method of ascertaining the Quantity
of Spirit contained in various sorts
of Wine , 117
Per Cent age of Alcohol contained in
various kinds of Wine, and other
fermented Liquors 120
Chemical Constitution of Home-made
ADULTERATION OF BREAD 125
Adulteration of Bread with Alum. , 127
Adulteration of Bread with Potatoes 133
Method of detecting the presence of
Alum in Bread. 139
Method of judging of the Goodness
of Breads-Corn and Bread- Flour. . 142
ADULTERATION OF BEER 145
Early practice of adulterating Beer
with Substances noxious to Health,
tind rapid Progress of this Fraud. 148
Druggists and Grocers prosecuted
and convictedfor supplying illegal
Ingredients to Brewers for adulte-
rating Beer 158
Remarks on Porter* 161
Strength and Specific Differences of
different kinds of Porter 166
List of Publicans prosecuted and
convicted for adulterating Beer
with illegal Ingredients, and for
mixing Table Beer with their
Strong Beer 171
Fraudulent Practice of adulterating
Beer with substances not deleteri-
ous to health 173
Illegal Ingredients seized at various
Breweries and Brewers' Druggists 9 181
Adulteration of Strong Beer with
Small Beer.. 185
List of Brewers prosecuted and con-
victed for adulterating Strong Beer
with Table Beer 189
Remarks with regard to the Origin of
the Beer catted Porter , 191
Composition of Old or EntireBeer. . 194
Fraudulent Practice of converting
New Beer into Old or Entire Beer 196
Fraudulent Practice of increasing
the intoxicating quality of Beer... 199
Brewers prosecuted and convicted
for receiving and using illegal In-
gredients in their Brewings 201
Method of detecting the Adulteration
of Beer 207
Method of ascertaining the Quantity
of Spirit contained in Porter, Ale,
or other kinds of Malt Liquors.... 209
Per Centage of Alcohol contained in
Porter, Ale, and other kinds of
Malt Liquors 211
COUNTERFEIT TEA-LEAVES ... 213
List of Grocers prosecuted and con-
victed for adulterating Tea 230
Method of detecting the Adultera-
tions of Tea-Leaves 231
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE 238
List of Grocers prosecuted by the
Solicitor of the Excise and con-
victed for adulterating Coffee 241
ADULTERATION OF BRANDY,
RUM, AND GIN 249
Method of detecting the Adultera-
tions of Brandy, Rum, and Malt
Method of detecting the Presence of
Lead in Spirituous Liquors 272
Method of ascertaining the Quantity
of Alcohol in different kinds of
Spirituous Liquors 273
Per Centage of Alcohol contained in
various kinds of Spirituous Liquors 275
POISONOUS CHEESE, and method
of detecting it 276
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER, and me-
thod of detecting it 284
White Pepper^ and method of manu-
facturing it 290
POISONOUS CAYENNE PEPPER,
and method of detecting it 292
POISONOUS PICKLES, and me-
thod of detecting them 295
ADULTERATION OF VINEGAR,
and method of detecting it.... 299
Distilled Vinegar 300
ADULTERATION OF CREAM,
and method of detecting it 302
and method of detecting it 305
POISONOUS CATSUP, and method
of detecting it 309
ADULTERATION OF LOZENGES,
and method of detecting it 314
POISONOUS OLIVE OIL, and me-
thod of detecting it 318
ADULTERATION OF LEMON
ACID, and method of detecting it 321
POISONOUS SODA WATER, and
method of detecting it..... 324
POISONOUS ANCHOVY SAUCE,
and method of detecting it 325
POISONOUS CUSTARD.., 328
POISONOUS MUSHROOMS 332
Mushroom Catsup 338
ADULTERATION OF MILK, and
method of detecting it 340
ADULTERATION OF ISINGLASS,
and method of detecting it 342
ADULTERATION OF CINNAMON,
and method of detecting it 344
ADULTERATION OF MUSTARD 346
ADULTERATION OF SPANISH
FOOD POISONED BY COPPER
VESSELS, and method of detect-
ing it 350
FOOD POISONED BY LEADEN
VESSELS, <ind method of detect-
ing it 357
ADULTERATIONS OF FOOD,
THE ADULTERATIONS OF FOOD.
OF all the frauds practised by mercenary
dealers, there is none more reprehensible,
and at the same time more prevalent, than
the sophistication of the various articles of
This unprincipled and nefarious practice,
increasing in degree as it has been found
2 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
difficult of detection, is now applied to al-
most every commodity which can be classed
among either the necessaries or the luxu-
ries of life, and is carried on to a most
alarming extent in every part of the United
It has been pursued by men, who, from
the magnitude and apparent respectability
of their concerns, would be the least ob-
noxious to public suspicion ; and their suc-
cessful example has called forth, from
among the retail dealers, a multitude of
competitors in the same iniquitous course.
To such perfection of ingenuity has this
system of adulterating food arrived, that
spurious articles of various kinds are every
where to be found, made up so skilfully as
to baffle the discrimination of the most ex-
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 3
Among the number of substances used in
domestic economy which are now very ge-
nerally found sophisticated, may be dis-
tinguished tea, coffee, bread, beer, wine,
spirituous liquors, salad oil, pepper, vine-
gar, mustard, cream, comfitures, catsup, and
other articles of diet and luxury.
Indeed, it would be difficult to mention a
single article of food which is not to be met
with in an adulterated state ; and there are
some substances which are scarcely ever to
be procured genuine.
Some of these spurious compounds are
comparatively harmless when used as food ;
and as in these cases merely substances of
inferior value are substituted for more costly
and genuine ingredients, the sophistication,
though it may affect our purse, does not
injure our health. Of this kind are the ma-
4 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
nufacture of factitious pepper, the adulter-
ations of mustard, vinegar, cream, &c
Others, however, are highly deleterious ;
and to this class belong the adulterations of
beer, wines, spirituous liquors, pickles, sa-
lad oil, and many others.
There are particular chemists who make
it a regular trade to supply drugs or nefa-
rious preparations to the unprincipled brewer
of porter and ale ; others perform the same
office to the wine and spirit merchant ; and
others again to the grocer and the oilman.
The operators carry on their processes
chiefly in secrecy, and under some delusive
firm, with the ostensible denotements of a
fair and lawful establishment.
These illicit pursuits have assumed all
the order and method of a regular trade ;
thqy may severally claim to be distinguished
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 6
as an art and mystery ; for the workmen
employed in them are often wholly igno-
rant of the nature of the substances which
pass through their hands, and of the pur-
poses to which they are ultimately applied.
To elude the vigilance of the inquisitive,
to defeat the scrutiny of the revenue officer,
and to ensure the secrecy of these mys-
teries, the processes are very ingeniously
divided and subdivided among individual
operators, and the manufacture is purposely
carried on in separate establishments. The
task of proportioning the ingredients for use
is assigned to one individual, while the com-
position and preparation of them may be
said to form a distinct part of the business,
and is entrusted to another workman. Most
of the articles are transmitted to the con-
sumer in a disguised state, or in such a form
O PRELIMINARY REMARKS*
that their real nature cannot possibly be
detected by the unwary. Thus the poison-
ous extract of cocculus indicus, employed
by fraudulent manufacturers of malt-liquors
to impart an intoxicating quality to porter
or ale, is known in the market by the name
of black extract; and another poisonous
substance, technically called multum, com-
posed of extract of gentian root, liquorice
juice, and extract of cocculus indicus, is
used by fraudulent brewers to economise
malt and hops.
The quantities of cocculus indicus berries,
as well as of black extract, imported into
this country for adulterating malt liquors,
^re enormous. It forms a considerable
branch of commerce in the hands of a few
brokers : yet, singular as it may seem, no
inquiry appears to have been hitherto made
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 7
by the officers of the revenue respecting its
application. Many other substances em-
ployed in the adulteration of bread, wine,
beer, ale, and spirituous liquors, are in a
similar manner intentionally disguised ; and
of the persons by whom they are purchased,
reat number are unacquainted with their
act, said to be innocent, sold at no
fay at a time than from half a cwt.
rt. by brewers' druggists, under the
name of bittern, is composed of calcined
sulphate of iron (copperas), extract of coc-
culus indicus berries, extract of gentian
root, and Spanish liquorice : and the article
called beer heading, is composed of alum
and green vitriol.
It would be very easy to adduce, in sup-
port of these remarks, the testimony of nu-
8 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
merous individuals, by whom I have been
professionally engaged to examine certain
mixtures, said to be perfectly innocent,
which are used in very extensive manufac-
tories of the above description. Indeed,
during the long period devoted to the prac-
tice of my profession, I have had abundant
reason to be convinced that a vast number
of dealers, of the highest respectability,
have vended to their customers articles
absolutely poisonous, which they them-
selves considered as harmless, and which
they would not have offered for sale, had
they been apprised of the spurious and per-
nicious nature of the compounds, and of the
purposes to which they were destined.
For instance, I have known cases in which
brandy merchants were not aware that the
substance which they frequently pur-
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 9
chase under the delusie name of jtash, for
strengthening and clarifying spirituous li-
quors, and which is held out as consisting
of burnt sugar and isinglass only, in the
form of an extract, is in reality a compound
of sugar with extract of capsicum ; and that
to the acrid and pungent qualities of the
capsicum is to be ascribed the heightened
flavour of brandy and rum, when coloured
with the above-mentioned matter.
In other cases the ale-brewer has been
supplied with ground coriander-seeds, pre-
viously mixed with a portion of ground nux
vomica, under the delusive name of Faba
amara, to give a narcotic property to the
It is a painful reflection, that the division
of labour which has been so instrumental in
bringing the manufactures of this country
to their present flourishing state, should
10 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
have also tended to conceal and facilitate
the fraudulent practices in question; and
that from a correspondent ramification of
commerce into a multitude of distinct
branches, particularly in the metropolis and
the large towns of the empire, the traffic in
adulterated commodities should find its way
through so many circuitous channels, as to
defy the most scrutinizing endeavour to
trace it to its source.
It is not less lamentable that the exten-
sive application of chemistry to the useful
purposes of life, should have been perverted
into an auxiliary to this nefarious traffic.
But, happily for the science, it may, with-
out difficulty, be converted into a means of
detecting the abuse ; to effect which, very
little chemical skill is required; and the
course to be pursued forms the object of the
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 11
The baker asserts that he does not put
alum into bread ; but he is well aware that,
in purchasing a certain quantity of half
spoiled flour, he must take a sack of sharp
ivhites (a term given to flour contaminated
with a quantity of alum), without which it
would be impossible for him to produce
light, white, and porous bread, from a half-
The wholesale mealman frequently pur-
chases this spurious commodity, (which
forms a separate branch of business in the
hands of certain individuals,) in order to
enable himself to sell his decayed flour.
Other individuals furnish the baker with
alum mixed up with salt, under the obscure
denomination of stuff. There are wholesale
manufacturing chemists, whose sole busi-
ness is to crystallise alum, in such a form
as will adapt this salt to the purpose of be-
12 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
iug mixed in a crystalline state with the
crystals of common salt, to disguise the
character of the compound. The mixture
called stuff i is composed of one part of
alum, in minute crystals, and three of com-
In many other trades a similar mode of
proceeding prevails. The practice of so-
phisticating the necessaries of life, being
reduced to systematic regularity, is ranked
by public opinion among other mercantile
pursuits ; and is not only regarded with
less disgust than formerly, but is almost
generally esteemed as a justifiable way to
It is really astonishing that the penal
law is not more effectually enforced against
practices so inimical to the public welfare*
The man who robs a fellow subject of a few
shillings on the high-way, is sentenced to
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. 13
death, while he who distributes a slow
poison to a whole community, escapes un-
It has been urged by some, that, under
so vast a system of finance as that of Great
Britain, it is expedient that the revenue
should be collected in large amounts ; and
therefore that the severity of the law should
be relaxed in favour of all mercantile con-
cerns in proportion to their extent : encou-
ragement must be given to large capitalists ;
and where an extensive brewery or distil-
lery yields an important contribution to the
revenue, no strict scrutiny need be adopted
in regard to the quality of the article from
which such contribution is raised, provided
the excise and customs do not suffer by the
But the principles of the constitution
14 PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
afford no sanction to this preference, and the
true interests of the country require that it
should be abolished ; for a tax dependant
upon deception must be at best precarious,
and must be, sooner or later, diminished by
the irresistible diffusion of knowledge.
Sound policy requires that the law should
be impartially enforced in all cases ; and if
its penalties were extended to abuses of
which it does not now take cognizance,
there is no doubt that the revenue would be
Thus devoted to disease by baker, brewer,
grocer, wine merchant, &c. the physician is
called to our assistance ; but here again, as I
s'hall state presently, the pernicious system
of fraud, as it has given the blow, steps in
to defeat the remedy.
And Methods of detecting them.
THE species of fraud to which I shall
now but briefly advert, and which has in-
creased to so alarming an extent, that it
loudly calls for the interference of Go-
vernment, is the adulteration of drugs and
Nine tenths of the most potent drugs and
chemical preparations used in pharmacy, are
vended in a sophisticated state by dealers
who would be the last to be suspected.
16 ADULTERATION OF
ADULTERATION OF PERUVIAN BARK.
IT is well known, that of the article, of Pe-
ruvian bark there is a variety of species in-
ferior to the genuine ; that too little discri-
mination is exercised by the collectors of
this precious medicament ; that it is care-
lessly assorted, and is frequently packed in
green hides; that much of it arrives in
Spain in a half-decayed state, mixed with
fragments of other vegetables and various
extraneous substances ; and in this state is
distributed throughout Europe.
But, as if this were not a sufficient dete-
rioration, the public are often served with
a spurious compound of mahogany sawdust
and oak wood, ground into powder, mixed
with a proportion of good quinquina, and
sold as genuine bark powder.
DRUGS AND MEDICINES. 17
Every chemist knows that there are mills
constantly at work in this metropolis, which
furnish bark powder at a much cheaper rate
than the substance can be procured for in
its natural state. The price of the best ge-
nuine bark, upon an average, is not lower
than twelve shillings the pound; but im-
mense quantities of powder bark are sup-
plied to the apothecaries at three or four
shillings a pound. There is no ready test
for detecting the fraud.
ADULTERATION OF RHUBARB POWDER,
IT is also notorious that there are ma-
nufacturers of spurious rhubarb powder,
ipecacuanha powder*, James's powder, and
* Of this root, several varieties are imported. The
18 ADULTERATION OF
other simple and compound medicines of
great potency, who carry on their diabolical
trade on an amazingly large scale. Indeed,
the quantity of medical preparations thus
sophisticated exceeds belief. Cheapness,
and not genuineness and excellence, is the
grand desideratum with the unprincipled
dealers in drugs and medicines.
Those who are familiar with chemistry
may easily convince themselves of the ex-
istence of the fraud, by subjecting to a che-
mical examination either spirits of hartshorn,
white sort, which has no wrinkles, and no perceptible
bitterness in taste, and which, though taken in a large
dose, has scarcely any effect at all, after being pul-
verised by fraudulent druggists, and mixed with a
portion of emetic tartar, is sold at a low price, for the
powder of genuine ipecacuanha root. There is no
ready method known to detect the fraud.
DRUGS AND MEDICINES. 19
magnesia, calcined magnesia, calomel, or
any other chemical preparation in general
ADULTERATION OF SPIRIT OF
And Method of detecting it.
SPIRIT of hartshorn is counterfeited by
mixing liquid caustic ammonia with the dis-
tilled spirit of hartshorn, to increase the
pungency of its odour, and to enable it to
bear an addition of water.
The fraud is detected by adding spirit of
wine to the sophisticated spirit ; for, if no
considerable coagulation ensues, the adul-
teration is proved. It may also be disco-
vered by the hartshorn spirit not producing
a brisk effervescence when mixed with mu-
riatic or nitric acid.
20 ADULTERATION OF
ADULTERATION OF MAGNESIA,
And Method of detecting it.
MAGNESIA usually contains a portion of
lime, originating from hard water being used
instead of soft, in the preparation of this me-
To ascertain the purity of magnesia, add
to a portion of it a little sulphuric acid, di-
luted with ten times its bulk of water. If
the magnesia be completely soluble, and
the solution remains transparent, it may be
pronounced pure; but not otherwise. Or,
dissolve a portion of the magnesia in muri-
atic acid, and add a solution of sub-carbo-
nate of ammonia. If any lime be present,
it will form a precipitate ; whereas pure
magnesia will remain in solution.
DRUGS AND MEDICINES. 21
ADULTERATION OF CALCINED
And Method of detecting it.
CALCINED magnesia is seldom met with
in a pure state. It may be assayed by the
same tests as the common magnesia. It
ought not to effervesce at all, with dilute
sulphuric acid ; and, if the magnesia and
acid be put together into one scale of a ba-
lance, no diminution of weight should ensue
on mixing them together. Calcined mag-
nesia, however, is very seldom so pure as
to be totally dissolved by diluted sulphuric
acid; for a small insoluble residue generally
remains, consisting chiefly of silicious earth,
derived from the alkali employed in the
preparation of it. The solution in sulphu-
ric acid, when largely diluted, ought not to
afford any precipitation by the addition of
oxalate of ammonia.
22 ADULTERATION OF
ADULTERATION OF CALOMEL,
And Method of detecting it.
THE genuineness of calomel may be as-
certained by boiling, for a few minutes, one
part with ^ part of muriate of ammonia in
ten parts of distilled water. When carbo-
nate of potash is added to the filtered solu-
tion, no precipitation will ensue if the calo-
mel be pure.
ADULTERATION OF SYRUP OF BUCK-
THORN, WORM-SEED, AND ARROW-
SYRXJP of buckthorn, for example, instead
of being prepared from the juice of buck-
thorn berries,(V h amnus catharticns,) is made
from the fruit of the blackberry bearing
DRUGS ANI} MEDICINES. 23
alder, and the dogberry tree, A mixture of
the berries of the buckthorn and blackberry
bearing" alder, and of the dogberry tree,
may be seen publicly exposed for sale by
some of the venders of medicinal herbs.
This abuse may be discovered by opening
the berries : those of buckthorn have almost
always four seeds; of the alder, two; and
of the dogberry, only one. Buckthorn ber-
ries, bruised on white paper, stain it of a
green colour, which the other do not.
There is no method of detecting the ge-
nuineness of the buckthorn syrup.
Instead of worm-seed [arlemisia san-
tonica~\ the seeds of tansey are frequently
offered for sale, or a mixture of both.
Most of the arrow-root, the fecula of the
maranta arudinacea, sold by druggists, is a
mixture of potatoe starch and arrow-root.
24 ADULTERATION OF
ADULTERATION OF ESSENTIAL OILS,
And Methods of detecting them.
A GREAT many of the essential oils ob-
tained from the more expensive spices, are
frequently so much adulterated, that it is
not easy to meet with such as are at all fit
for use : nor are these adulterations easily
discoverable. The grosser abuses, indeed,
may be readily detected. Thus, if the oil
be adulterated with alcohol, it will turn
milky on the addition of water ; if with ex-
pressed oils, alcohol will dissolve the vola-
tile, and leave the other behind ; if with oil
of turpentine, on dipping a piece of paper
in the mixture, and drying it with a gentle
heat, the turpentine will be betrayed by
its smell. The more subtle artists* bow-
DRUGS AND MEDICINES. 25
ever, have contrived other methods of so-
phistication, which elude all trials. And as
all volatile oils agree in their general pro-
perties of solubility in spirit of wine, and
volatility in the heat of boiling water, &c.
it is plain that they may be variously mixed
with each other, or the dearer sophisticated
with the cheaper, without any possibility of
discovering the abuse by any of the before-
mentioned trials. Perfumers assert that
the smell and taste are the only certain
tests of which the nature of the thing will
admit. For example, if a bark should have
in every respect the appearance of good
cinnamon, and should be proved indisput-
ably to be the genuine bark of the cinna-
mon tree ; yet if it want the cinnamon fla-
vour, or has it but in a low degree, we reject
it ; and the case is the same with the essen-
26 ADULTERATION OF
tial oil of cinnamon. It is only from use
and habit, or comparisons with specimens
of known quality, that we can judg of the
goodness, either of the drugs themselves, or
of their oils.
ADULTERATION OF COLOURS
USED IN PAINTING,
Jlnd Methods of detecting them.
PAINTERS' colours, not only those used
by artists, such as ultramarine, carmine,
and lake, Antwerp blue, chrome yellow, and
Indian ink; but also the coarser colours used
by the common house-painter, are more or
less adulterated. Thus, of the latter kind,
white lead is mixed with carbonate or sul-
phate of barytes ; vermillion with red lead.
PAINTERS' COLOURS. 27
The following hints may serve to detect
Ultramarine, if genuine, should speedily
become deprived of its colour when thrown
into concentrated nitric acid.
Carmine should be totally soluble in
liquid ammonia. It is often mixed with
vermillion. This substance is not acted on
Madder and carmine lakes should be
totally soluble by boiling in concentrated
solution of soda or potash.
Antwerp blue should not become de-
prived of its colour when thrown into liquid
Chrome yellow should not effervesce with
Indian Ink ; the best kind breaks splin-
28 ADULTERATION OF PAINTERS 5 COLOURS.
tery, with a smooth glossy fracture, and
feels soft, and not gritty, when rubbed
against the teeth.
White lead should be completely soluble
in nitric acid, and the solution should re-
main transparent when mingled with a so-
lution of sulphate of soda,
Vermillion should become totally vola-
tilized on being exposed to a red heat ; and
it should impart a red colour to spirit of
wine, when digested with it.
USED IN HOUSEKEEPING.
SOAP, POTATOES, BUTTER, PAPER,
THE fraud may be detected by pouring"
upon one part of the suspected soap, re-
duced to thin shavings, six parts, by weight,
of rectified spirit of wine; and, suffering
the mixture to stand in a slightly stopped
bottle in a warm place, the soap, if genuine,
30 ADULTERATION OF VARIOUS ARTICLES
will become dissolved : but if adulterated
with clay, this substance will be left be-
Potatoes are soaked in water to augment
The inferior sorts of butter are frequently
adulterated with hogs' lard.
In the manufacture of printing paper, a
large quantity of plaster of Paris is often
added to the paper stuff, to increase the
weight of the manufactured article.
The selvage of cloth is often dyed with a
permanent colour, and artfully stitched to
the edge of cloth dyed with a fugitive
The frauds committed in the tanning of
skins, and in the manufacture of cutlery
and jewellery, exceed belief,
USED IN HOUSEKEEPING. 31
FRAUDS PRACTISED IN THE GOAL TRADE,
" IN coal sheds the measure as well as
the mixing one kind of coal with another is
often scandalous*; for the Act of Parliament
does not take the least notice of the small
measures. It is a known fact when a frau-
dulent dealer orders in a room of coals, for
every chaldron of 36 bushels, if he does not
send them out at the rate of 42 bushels
again, he will be dissatisfied with his mea-
sure. This is extremely hard upon the
lower class of people, who are only able to
purchase a peck, or half a peck, at a time :
and let the measure be ever so bad, they
have no means of redress.
* Eddington on the Coal Trade, p. 94.
32 FRAUDS PRACTISED
" With regard to the measure of coal, as
offered in the market, it may be remarked
that many coal -merchants will promise to
give 68 sacks to a room : but here it should
be observed, that much depends on the size
and shape, or, as it is called, the roundness
of the coal, viz. any of the Wall's End,
Wellington, Benton,Heaton, Hebron, Percy,
Main, Cowper, Blyth, and Hartley, being all
put on board of ships in large masses and
blocks, round as out of the mine ; it is cer-
tain, that, in every room of five chaldron
and a half the ingrain, when the round are
broken, every room will measure out from
to 6 chaldron again."
Mr. Edington observes, that " the differ-
ence is so great between round coals, with
regard to absolute quantity, and small damp
and dry coals, that no means can be ob-
IN THE COAL TRADE. 33
tained to correct and prevent abuse. Thus*
if a vat of Wall's End coals be measured
from the ship, such measure as the meter
gives, turn over the vat, and break the
round coals to the size the merchant sends
them out to his customers, then fill up the
vat again, and it will be found to over-run
a bushel, more or less according to the
roundness of the coal. Secondly, a score is
measured out of Wall's End coals in the
pool, into a barge having four rooms, each
containing five chaldrons and a half the in-
grain ; no sooner does the barge arrive at
the wharf, than the round coals are broken,
and, if very dry, the coals being wetted, will
increase in bulk; nor is the coal merchant
satisfied if he does not by this practice send
out from six to six and a quarter, or even
six and a half, chaldron from each room,
34 FRAUDS PRACTISED
" The loss in the use of small coals is more
considerable to the poor, who cannot keep
large fires. When they want their break-
fast or dinner, the time they can spare is
limited; and to have their water sooner
boiling, or their meals quicker ready, they
must make use of the poker, and lose a
great deal of coal. Hence more bright coal
goes to the dust-hole of the poor man, than
to the dust-hole of a rich family, where, the
fire being large, the small coal has more
chance of burning.
" The loss is still greater to the poor, in
consequence of the inferior sorts of coal
which are sold to them. If it is the light
sort, it burns too quick, and they consume
double the quantity ; if the strong sort,
it burns too slow, and is nearly as waste-
ful ; great quantity of it then goes to
IN THE COAL TRADE. 35
the dust-hole without being lighted at
" An incorrect opinion is often enter-
tained, that the real quantity of coal con-
tained in a sack is lessened by separating
or screening the small from the round coals ;
but we must recollect, that any compact
body occupies less space than is required to
contain the same matter, reduced to smaller
irregular pieces, or to powder. Now the
screening only takes away the finest dusty
part of the coals, and admits more small
pieces of round coals to be filled into the
36 DISGUSTING PRACTICE OF RENDERING
DISGUSTING PRACTICE OF RENDER-
ING BUTCHER'S MEAT, FISH, AND
THE abominable custom daily practised of
blowing, as it is technically called, or inflat-
ing butchers' meat, especially the joints of
veal and Iamb, with the breath respired
from the lungs, to make it appear white and
glistening, is a practice which claims the in-
terference of the Magistrates.
This detestable custom unquestionably
renders meat not only unfit for keeping, but
likewise unwholesome for human food. I
have the authority of a celebrated physiolo-
gist* to state, that the meat is capable of
communicating the most loathsome diseases ;
besides, it is such a dirty trick, that the very
idea of it is sufficient to disgust a person at
every thing which comes from a butchers'
* A. Carlisle, Esq.
BUTCHERS' MEAT UNWHOLESOME. 37
shop for who can bear the notion of eating
meat, the cellular substance of which has
been filled with air of a dirty fellow, who
may at the same time be perhaps inflicted
with the very worst of diseases.
But not only butchers' meat, but sea fish,
especially cod, haddock, and whiting, are in
a similar manner often blown, to make them
appear large and plump ; a quill, or the stem
of a tobacco pipe, being inserted into the
orifice at the belly of the fih, and a hole
being made under the fin, which is next the
gill, the breath is blown in, to extend the
bulk of the fish.
This imposition is detected by placing the
thumb on each side of the orifice and press-
ing it hard, when the air will be perceived
to escape. Meat that has been inflated may
'at once be recognised by the cellular mem-
brane being distended.
38 DISGUSTING PRACTICE OF RENDERING
Another pernicious custom of rendering-
meat unwholesome, is, to throw the beast,
previous to its being killed, into a state of
disease, by over-driving it ; for the fever into
which the furious animal is often thrown, by
the cruelty of the drover, is frequently
raised to madness. No person would chuse
to eat the flesh of an animal which died in a
high fever ; yet that is actually the case with
all over-drove cattle. The flesh of such
animals is at once distinguished at the
butchers' shambles, by the cellular mem-
brane being filled with blood, which makes
the meat appear of a more florid colour, and
adds to its weight.
Another highly blameable custom to ren-
der meat unwholesome, is, to keep animals
without food for four or five days together,
to save the butcher the trouble of clearing
the stomach and intestines more readily.
BUTCHERS' MEAT UNWHOLESOME. 39
Oxen are usually kept without food for four
or five days before they are killed ; calves,
sheep and pigs, each of them two or three
days. Fasting so long renders the animals
unhealthy, and makes them restless, fever-
ish, and diseased.
It is also a common practice in some graz-
ing counties to bring to market the carcases
of such animals as die of themselves. Po-
verty may, indeed, oblige people to eat
such meat; but it would be better for them
to eat a smaller quantity of what is sound
and wholesome ; at least it would afford a
better nourishment, with less danger.
The injunction given to the Jews not to
eat of any creature which had died in conse-
quence of a disease, seems to have a strict
regard to health, and ought to be observed,
as a wholesome lesson, by Christians as
well as Jews.
40 DISGUSTING PRACTICE OF RENDERING
The Editor of The Literary Miscellany,
states, that it is a practice among many but-
chers to suspend calves by the hind legs, with
the head downwards, for hours, and to bleed
them to death slowly. Such processes of
complicated and lengthened cruelty, too
horrid to relate, are only for the purpose
of whitening the flesh. And, with a similar
view, two calves are often tied together by
their hind legs, and thrown across ahorse
when brought to the butcher's shop, so that
they are suffered to be suspended for hours
together, with the head downwards, before
they are killed.
On the frequent cruelties committed by
butchers it is not my business to speak.
Every person resident in this town must have
noticed, that in drivinga number of sheep and
oxen, if any of them be untractable, the driver
often breaks one of the legs of the sheep, or
BUTCHERS' MEAT UNWHOLESOME. 41
cuts the large tendon on the foot of the ox.
This is a cruelty at which the human mind
By Heaven's high will the LOWER WORLD is thine !
But art thou CRUEL TOO BY RIGHT DIVINE ?
Admit their lives devoted to thy need ;
Take the appointed forfeit let them bleed :
Yet add not to the hardships of their state,
Nor join to servitude oppression's weight ;
By no unmanly rigors swell distress,
But, where thou canst, exert thy power to bless,
Beyond thy wants 'tis barbarous to annoy,
And but from need 'tis baseness to destroy.*
PRATT'S Lower World, B. II.
GENERAL REMARKS ON THE ADULTERA-
TION OF FOOD.
THE object of all unprincipled modern
manufacturers seems to be the sparing of
their time and labour as much as possible,
42 GENERAL REMARKS.
and to increase the quantity of the articles
they produce, without much regard to their
quality. The ingenuity and perseverance
of self-interest is proof against prohibitions,
and contrives to elude the vigilance of the
most active government.
The eager and insatiable thirst for gain,
which seems to be a leading characteristic
of the times, calls into action every human
faculty, and gives an irresistible impulse to
the power of invention ; and where lucre
becomes the reigning principle, the possi-
ble sacrifice of even a fellow creature's life
is a secondary consideration. In reference
to the deterioration of almost all the neces-
saries and comforts of existence, it may be
justly observed, in a civil as well as a re-
ligious sense, that " in the midst of life we
are in death."
IMPORTANCE OF THE PURITY OF WA-
TER EMPLOYED IN DOMESTIC ECO-
NOMY AND THE ARTS.
IT requires not much reflection to become
convinced that the waters which issue from
the recesses of the earth, and form springs,
wells, rivers, or lakes, often materially differ
from each other in their taste and other
obvious properties. There are few people
who have not observed a difference in the
waters used for domestic purposes and in
the arts ; and the distinctions of hard and
soft water are familiar to every body.
44 EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT WATERS USED
Water perfectly pure is scarcely ever
met with in nature.
It must also be obvious, that the health
and comfort of families, and the conve-
niences of domestic life, are materially
affected by the supply of good and whole-
some water. Hence a knowledge of the
quality and salubrity of the different kinds
of waters employed in the common con-
cerns of life, on account of the abundant
daily use we make of them in the prepara-
tion of food, is unquestionably an object of
considerable importance, and demands our
The effects produced by the foreign mat-
ters which water may contain, are more
considerable, and of greater importance,
than might at first be imagined. It cannot
be denied, that such waters as are hard, or
IN DOMESTIC ECONOMY AND THE ARTS. 45
loaded with earthy matter, have a decided
effect upon some important functions of the
human body. They increase the distress-
ing symptoms under which those persons
labour who are afflicted with what is com-
monly called gravel complaints ; and many
other ailments might be named, that are
always aggravated by the use of waters
abounding in saline and earthy substances.
The purity of the waters employed in
some of the arts and manufactures, is an
object of not less consequence. In the
process of brewing malt liquors, soft water
is preferable to hard. Every brewer knows
that the largest possible quantity of the
extractive matter of the malt is obtained in
the least possible time, and at the smallest
cost, by means of soft water.
In the art of the dyer, hard water not
46 EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT WATERS USI^D
only opposes the solution of several dye
stuffs, but it also alters the natural tints of
some'delicate colours ; whilst in others again,
it precipitates the earthy and saline matters
with which it is impregnated, into the deli-
cate fibres of the stuff, and thus impedes
the softness and brilliancy of the dye.
The bleacher cannot use with advantage
waters impregnated with earthy salts ; and
a minute portion of iron imparts to the cloth
a yellowish hue.
To the manufacturer of painters' colours,
water as pure as possible is absolutely es-
sential for the successful preparation of
several delicate pigments. Carmine, mad-
der lake, ultramarine, and Indian yellow,
cannot be prepared without perfectly pure
For the steeping or raiting of flax, soft
IN DOMESTIC ECONOMY AND THE ARTS. 47
water is absolutely necessary ; in hard water
the flax may be immersed for months, till its
texture be injured, and still the ligneous
matter will not be decomposed, and the
fibres properly separated.
In the culinary art, the effects of water
more or less pure are likewise obvious.
Good and pure water softens the fibres of
animal and vegetable matters more readily
than such as is called hard. Every cook
knows that dry or ripe pease, and other
farinaceous seeds, cannot readily be boiled
soft in hard water; because the farina of
the seed is not perfectly soluble in water
loaded with earthy salts.
Green esculent vegetable substances are
more tender when boiled in soft water than
in hard water ; although hard water imparts
to them a better colour. The effects of hard
and soft water may be easily shown in the '
Let two separate portions of tea-leaves be
macerated, by precisely the same processes,
in circumstances all alike, in similarly
and separate vessels, the one containing hard
and the other soft water, either hot or cold,
the infusion made with the soft water will
have by far the strongest taste, although
it possesses less colour than the infusion
made with the hard water. It will strike a
more intense black with a solution of sul-
phate of iron, and afford a more abundant
precipitate, with a solution of animal jelly,
which at once shews that soft water has
extracted more tanning matter, and more
CHARACTERS OF GOOD WATER. 49
gallic acid, from the tea-leaves, than could
be obtained from them under like circum-
stances by means of hard water.
Many animals which are accustomed to
drink soft water, refuse hard water; Horses
in particular prefer the former. Pigeons
refuse hard water when they have been ac-
customed to soft water.
CHARACTERS OF GOOD WATER.
A GOOD criterion of the purity of water
fit for domestic purposes, is its softness.
This quality is at once obvious by the touch,
if we only wash our hands in it with soap.
Good water should be beautifully transpa-
rent: a slight opacity indicates extraneous
matter. To judge of the perfect transpa-
rency of water, a quantity of it should be
50 CHARACTERS OF GOOD WATER.
put into a deep glass vessel, the larger the
better, so that we can look down perpendi-
cularly into a considerable mass of the fluid ;
we may then readily discover the slightest
degree of muddiness much better than if
the water be viewed through the glass
placed between the eye and the light. It
should be perfectly colourless, devoid of
odour, and its taste soft and agreeable. It
should send out air-bubbles when poured
from one vessel into another ; it should boil
pulse soft, and form with soap am uniform
opaline fluid, which does not separate after
standing for several hours.
It is to the presence of common air and
carbonic acid gas that common water owes
ils taste, and many of the good effects
which it produces on animals and vege-
tables. Spring water, which contains more
CHARACTERS OF GOOD WATER. 51
air, has a more lively taste than river
Hence the insipid and vapid taste of newly
boiled water, from which these gases are
expelled: fish cannot live in water deprived
of those elastic fluids.
100 cubic inches of the New River water,
with which part of this metropolis is sup*
plied, contains 2,25 of carbonic acid, and
1,25 of common air. It contains, beside a
minute portion of muriate of lime, carbonate
of lime, and muriate of soda. The water
of the river Thames contains rather a larger
quantity of common air, and a smaller por-
tion of carbonic acid.
Water is freed from foreign matter by
distillation: and for any chemical process
in which accuracy is requisite, distilled
water must be used.
52 EASY METHOD OF CURING HARD .WATER.
EASY METHOD OF CURING HARD
HARD waters may, in general, be cured in
part, by dropping into them a solution of
sub-carbonate of potash ; or, if the hardness
be owing only to the presence of super-
carbonate of lime, mere boiling will greatly
remedy the defect ; part of the carbonic
acid flies off, and a neutral carbonate of
lime falls down to the bottom : it may then
be used for washing, scarcely curdling soap.
But if the hardness be owing in part to
sulphate of lime, boiling does not soften it
When spring water is used for washing,
it is advantageous to leave it for some time
exposed to the open air in a reservoir with
CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS. 53
a large surface. Part of the carbonic acid
becomes thus dissipated, and part of the
carbonate of lime falls to the bottom. Mr.
Dalton* has observed that the more any
spring is drawn from, the softer the water
CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE
WATERS USED IN DOMESTIC ECO-
NOMY AND THE ARTS.
COLLECTED with every precaution as it
descends from the clouds, and at a distance
from large towns, or any other object ca-
pable of impregnating the atmosphere with
* Dalton, Manchester Memoirs, vol. iv. p. 55.
54 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
foreign matters, approaches more nearly to
a state of purity than perhaps any other
natural water. Even collected under these
circumstances, however, it invariably con-
tains a portion of common air and carbonic
acid gas. The specific gravity of rain water
scarcely differs from that of distilled water ;
and from the minute portions of the foreign
ingredients which it generally contains, it
is very soft, and admirably adapted for
many culinary purposes, and various pro-
cesses in different manufactures and the
Fresh-fallen snow, melted without the
contact of air, appears to be nearly free
from air. Gay-Lussacand Humboldt, how-
USED FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES. 55
ever, affirm, that it contains nearly the usual
proportion of air.
Water from melted ice does not contain
so much air. Dew has been supposed to be
saturated with air.
Snow water has long lain under the im-
putation of occasioning those strumous
swellings in the neck which deform the
inhabitants of many of the .Alpine vallies ;
but this opinion is not supported by any
well-authenticated indisputable facts, and
is rendered still more improbable, if not
entirely overturned, by the frequency of
the disease in Sumatra*, where ice and
snow are never sefen.
In high northern latitudes, thawed snow
Marsden's History of Sumatra.
56 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
forms the constant drink of the inhabitants
during winter; and the vast masses of ice
which float on the polar seas, afford an
abundant supply of fresh water to the ma-
Includes well-water and all others that
arise from some depth below the surface of
the earth, and which are used at the foun-
tain-head, or at least before they have run
any considerable distance exposed to the
air. Indeed, springs may be considered as
rain water which has passed through the
fissures of the earth, and, having accumu-
lated at the bottom of declivities, rises again
to the surface, forming springs and wells.
USED FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES. 57
As wells take their origin at some depth
from the surface, and below the influence
of the external atmosphere,, their tempera-
ture is in general pretty uniform during
every vicissitude of season, and always se-
veral degrees lower than the atmosphere..
They differ from one another according to
the nature of the strata through which they
issue; for though the ingredients usually
existing in them are in such minute quan-
tities as to impart to the water no striking
properties, and do not render it unfit for
common purposes, yet they modify its na-
ture very considerably. Hence the water
of some springs is said to be hard, of others
soft, some sweet, others brackish, accord-,
ing to the nature and degree of the impreg-
Common springs are insensibly changed
58 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
in mineral or medicinal springs, as their
foreign contents become larger or more un-
usual ; or, in some instances, they derive
medicinal celebrity from the absence of
those ingredients usually occurring in
spring-water ; as, for example, is the case
with the Malvern spring, which is nearly
Almost all spring-waters possess the pro-
perty termed hardness in a greater or less
degree ; a property which depends chiefly
upon the presence of super-carbonate, or
of sulphate of lime, or of both ; and the
quantity of these earthy salts varies very
considerably in different instances. Mr.
Dalton* has shewn that one grain of sul-
* Manchester Memoirs, vol. x. 1819.
USED FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES* 59
phate of lime, contained in 2000 grains of
water, converts it into the hardest spring
water that is commonly met with.
The waters of deep wells are usually much
harder than those springs which overflow
the mouth of the well ; but there are some
exceptions to this rule.
The purest springs are those which occur
in primitive rocks, or beds of gravel, or
filter through sand or silicious strata. la
general, large springs are purer than small
ones ; and our old wells contain finer water
than those that are new, as the soluble parts
through which the water filters in channels
under ground become gradually washed
60 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
Is a term applied to every running stream
or rivulet exposed to the air, and always
flowing in an open channel. It is formed of
spring water, which, by exposure, becomes
more pure, and of running land or surface
water, which, although turbid from particles
of the al u vial soil suspended in it, is other-
wise very pure. It is purest when it runs over
a gravelly or rocky bed, and when its course
is swift. It is generally soft, and more free
from earthy salts than spring water; but
it usually contains less common air and
carbonic acid gas ; for, by the agitation of a
long currant, and exposed to the tempera-
ture of the atmosphere, part of its carbonic
acid gas is disengaged, and the lime held
USED FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES. 6l
in solution by it is in part precipitated,
the loss of which contributes to the softness
of the water. Its specific gravity thereby
becomes less, the taste not so harsh, but less
fresh and agreeable ; and out of a hard
spring is often made a stream of sufficient
purity for most of the purposes where a
soft water is required.
Some streams, however, that arise from
clean silicious beds, and flow in a sandy or
stony channel, are from the outset remarkably
pure ; such as the mountain lakes and rivu-
lets in the rocky districts of Wales, the
source of the beautiful waters of the Dee,
and numberless other rivers that flow
through the hollow of every valley. Swit-
zerland has long been celebrated for the
purity and excellence of its waters, which
pour in copious streams from the mouu-
62 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
tains, and give rise to the finest rivers in
Some rivers, however, that do not take
their rise from a rocky soil, and are indeed
at first considerably charged with foreign
matter, during a long course, even over a
richly cultivated plain, become remarkably
pure as to saline contents ; but often fouled
with mud containing much animal and ve-
getable matter, which are rather suspended
than held in true solution. Such is the water
of the river Thames, which, taken up at Lon-
don at low water mark, is very soft, and
good ; and after rest, it contains but a very
small portion of any thing that could prove
USE/) FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES. 63
pernicious or impede any manufacture.
It is also excellently fitted for sea-store;
but it then undergoes a remarkable sponta-
neous change, when preserved in wooden
casks. No water carried to sea becomes
putrid sooner than that of the Thames. But
the mode now adopted in the navy, of sub-
stituting 1 iron tanks for wooden casks, tends
greatly to obviate the disadvantage.
Whoever will consider the situation of
the Thames, and the immense population
along its banks for so many miles, must at
once perceive the prodigious accumulation
of animal matters of all kinds, which by
means of the commmon sewers constantly
make their way into it. These matters are,
no doubt, in part, the cause of the putrefac-
tion which it is well known to undergo at
sea; and of the carburetted and sulphuretted
64 CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF WATERS
hydrogen gases which are evolved from it.
When a wooden cask is opened, after being
kept a month or two, a quantity of carbur etted
and sulphuretted hydrogen escapes, and the
water is so black and offensive as scarcely
to be borne. Upon racking it off, however,
into large earthen vessels, and exposing* it
to the air, it gradually deposits a quantity
of black slimy mud, becomes clear as crys-
tal, and remarkably sweet and palatable.
It might, at first sight, be expected that
the water of the Thames, after having re-
ceived all the contents of the sewers, drains,
and water courses of a large town, should
acquire thereby such impregnation with
foreign matters, as to become very impure ;
but it appears, from the most accurate ex-
periments that have been made, that those
kinds of impurities have no perceptible in-
USED FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES. 65
fluence on the salubrious quality of a mass
of water so immense, and constantly kept in
motion by the action of the tides.
Some traces of animal matter may, how-
ever, be detected in the water of the Thames ;
for if nitrate of lead be dropped into it * ;
" you will find that it becomes milky, and
that a white powder falls to the bottom,
which dissolves without effervescence in
nitric acid. It is, therefore, (says Dr. Thom-
son) a combination of oxide of lead with
some animal matter."
* Observations on the Water with which Tun-
bridge Wells is chiefly supplied for Domestic Pur-
poses, by Dr. Thomson ; forming an Appendix to an
Analysis of the Mineral Waters of Tunbridge Wells,
by Dr. Scudamore.
66 SUBSTANCES CONTAINED IN WAtER,
SUBSTANCES USUALLY CONTAINED IN
COMMON WATER, AND TESTS BY
WHICH THEY ARE DETECTED.
To acquire a knowledge of the general
nature of common water, it is only necessary
to add to it a few chemical tests, which will
quickly indicate the presence or absence of
the substances that may be expected.
Almost the only salts contained in com-
mon waters are the carbonates, sulphates,
and muriates of soda, lime, and magnesia:
and sometimes a very minute portion of iron
may also be detected in them.
Fill a wine-glass with distilled water,
and add to it a few drops of the solution of
ANI> f HE TESTS FOR DETECTING THEM. 67
soap in alcohol, the water will remain tran*
This test is employed for ascertaining the
presence of earthy salts in waters. Hence
it produces no change when mingled with
distilled or perfectly pure water ; but when
added to water containing earthy salts, a
white flocculent matter becomes separated,
which speedily collects on the surface of
the fluid. Now, from the quantity of floc-
culent matter produced, in equal quantities
of water submitted to the test, a tolerable
notion may be formed of the degrees of
hardness of different kinds of water, at
least 80 far as regards the fitness of the
water for the ordinary purposes of domestic
economy. This may be rendered obvious
in the following manner.
68 SUBSTANCES CONTAINED IN WATER,
Fill a number of wine-glasses with dif-
ferent kinds of pump or well water, and let
fall into each glass a few drops of the solu-
tion of soap in alcohol. A turbidness will
instantly ensue, and a flocculent matter
collect on the surface of the fluid, if the
mixture be left undisturbed. The quantity
of flocculent matter will be in the ratio s>f
the quantity of earthy salts contained in the
water. // -^
It is obvious that the action of this test is
not discriminative with regard to the che-
mical nature of the earthy salt present in
the water. It serves only to indicate the
presence or absence of those kinds of sub-
stances which occasion that quality in water
which is usually called hardness, and which
AND THE TESTS FOR DETECTING THEM. 69
is always owing to salts with an earthy
If we wish to know the nature of the
different acids and earths contained in the
water, the following tests may be em-
Add about twenty drops of a solution of
oxalate of ammonia, to half a wine-glass of
the water ; if a white precipitate ensues, we
conclude that the water contains lime.
By means of this test, one grain of lime
may be detected in 24,250 of water.
If this test occasion a white precipitate
in water taken fresh from the pump or
spring, and not after the water has been
boiled and suffered to grow cold, the lime
is dissolved in the water by an excess of
70 SUBSTANCES CONTAINED IN WATER,
carbonic acid ; and if it continues to pro-
duce a precipitate in the water which has
been concentrated by boiling, we then are
sure that the lime is combined with a fixed
To detect the presence of iron, add to a
wine-glassful of the water a few drops of an
infusion of nut-galls ; or better, suffer a nut-
gall to be suspended in it for twenty-four
hours, which will cause the water to acquire
a blueish black colour, if iron be present.
Add a few grains of muriate of barytes,
to half a wine-glass of the water to be ex-
amined ; if it produces a turbidness which
AND THE TESTS FOR DETECTING THEM. 71
does not disappear by the admixture of a
few drops of muriatic acid, the presence of
sulphuric acid is rendered obvious.
If a few drops of a solution of nitrate of
silver occasion a milkiness with the water,
which vanishes again by the copious ad-
dition of liquid ammonia, we have reason to
believe that the water contains a salt, one
of the constituent parts of which is muriatic
If lime water or barytic water occasions a
precipitate which again vanishes by the
admixture of muriatic acid, then carbonic
acid is present in the water.
72 SUBSTANCES CONTAINED IN WATER,
If a solution of phosphate of soda produce
a milkiness with the water, after a previous
addition to it of a similar quantity of neutral
carbonate of ammonia, we may then expect
magnesia. The application of this test is
best made in the following manner :
Concentrate a quantity of the water to be
examined to about -fa part of its bulk, and
drop into about half a wine-glassful, about
five grains of neutral carbonate of am-
monia. No magnesia becomes yet preci-
pitated if this earth be present; but on
adding a like quantity of phosphate of soda,
the magnesia falls down, as an insoluble
salt. It is essential that the carbonate of
ammonia be neutral.
AND THE TESTS FOR DETECTING THEM. 73
The presence of oxygen gas loosely com-
bined in water may readily be discovered
in the following manner.
Fill a vial with water, and add to it a
small quantity of green sulphate of iron.
If the water be entirely free of oxygen, and
if the vessel be well stopped and completely
filled, the solution is transparent; but if
otherwise, it soon becomes slightly turbid,
from the oxide of iron attracting the oxygen,
and a small portion of it, in this more highly
oxidated state, leaving the acid and being
If we examine the different waters which
are used for the ordinary purposes of life,
74 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER
and judge of them by the above tests, we
shall find them to differ considerably from
each other. Some contain a large quantity
of saline and earthy matters, whilst others
are nearly pure. The differences are pro-
duced by the great solvent power which
water exercises upon most substances.
Hence wells should never be lined with
bricks, which render soft water hard ; or, if
bricks be employed, they should be bedded
in and covered with cement.
DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF KEEPING
WATER IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS.
THE deleterious effect of lead, when taken
into the stomach, is at present so univer-
sally known, that it is quite unnecessary to
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS. 75
adduce any argument in proof of its dange-
The antients were, upwards of 2000 years
ago, as well aware of the pernicious quality
of this metal as we are at the present day ;
and indeed they appeared to have been
much more apprehensive of its effects, and
scrupulous in the application of it to pur-
poses of domestic economy.
Their precautions may have been occasi-
onally carried to an unnecessary length.
This was the natural consequence of the im-
perfect state of experimental knowledge at
that period. When men were unable to
detect the poisonous matters to be over
scrupulous in the use of such water, was an
error on the right side.
The moderns, on the other hand, in part,
perhaps, from an ill-founded confidence, and
76 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER
inattention to a careful and continued exa-
mination of its effects, have , fallen into an
There can be no doubt that the mode of pre-
serving water intended for food or drink in
leaden reservoirs, is exceedingly improper;
and although pure water exercises no sen-
sible action upon metallic lead, provided air
be excluded, the metal is certainly acted on
by the water when air is admitted : this effect
is so obvious, that it cannot escape the no-
tice of the least attentive observer.
The white line which may be seen at the
surface of the water preserved in leaden
cisterns, where the metal touches the water
and where the air is admitted, is a carbo-
nate of lead, formed at the expense of the
metal. This substance, when taken into the
stomach, is highly deleterious to health.
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS.
This was the reason which induced the an-
tients to condemn leaden pipes for the con-
veyance of water ; it having been remarked
that persons who swallowed the sediment of
such water, became affected with disorders
ferent potable waters have unequal
t powers on this metal. In some
places the use of leaden pumps has been
discontinued, from the expence entailed
upon the proprietors by the constant want
of repair. Dr. Lambf states an instance
where the proprietor of a well ordered his
plumber to make the lead of a pump of
double the thickness of the metal usually
employed for pumps, to save the charge of
* Sir G. Baker, Med. Trans, vol. i. p. 280.
t Lamb on Spring Water.
78 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER
repairs ; because he had observed that the
water was so hard, as he called it, that it
corroded the lead very soon.
The following instance is related by Sir
" A gentleman was the father of a nume-
rous offspring, having had one-and-twenty
children, of whom eight died young, and
thirteen survived their parents. During
their infancy, and indeed until they had
quitted the place of their usual residence,
they were all remarkably unhealthy ; being
particularly subject to disorders of the sto-
mach and bowels. The father, during many
years, was paralytic ; the mother, for a long
time, was subject to colics and bilious ob-
* Medical Trans, vol. i. p. 420.
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS. 79
" After the death of the parents, the fa-
mily sold the house which they had so long
inhabited. The purchaser found it neces-
sary to repair the pump. This was made
of lead ; which, upon examination, was
found to be so corroded, that several perfo-
rations were observed in the cylinder in
which the bucket plays ; and the cistern in
the upper part was reduced to the thinness
of common brown paper, and was full of
holes, like a sieve."
I have myself seen numerous instances
where leaden cisterns have been completely
corroded by the action of water with which
they were in contact: and there is, perhaps,
not a plumber who cannot give testimony of
having experienced numerous similar in-
stances in the practices of his trade.
I have been frequently called upon to
80 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER
examine leaden cisterns, which had become
leaky on account of the action of the water
which they contained ; and I could adduce
an instance of a legal controversy having
taken place to settle the disputes between
the proprietors of an estate and a plumber,
originating from a similar cause the plum-
ber being accused of having furnished a
faulty reservoir; whereas the case was
proved to be owing to the chemical action of
the water on the lead. Water containing a
large quantity of common air and carbonic
acid gas, always acts very sensibly on me-
Water which has no sensible action, in
its natural state, upon lead, may acquire
the capability of acting on it by heteroge-
neous matter, which it may accidentally re-
ceive. Numerous instances have shewn that
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS. 81
vegetable matter, such as leaves, falling into
leaden cisterns filled with water, imparted
to the water a considerable solvent power
of action on the lead, which in its natural
state it did not possess. Hence the neces-
sity of keeping leaden cisterns clean ; and
this is the more necessary, as their situations
expose them to accidental impurities. The
noted saturnine colic of Amsterdam, des-
cribed by Tronchen, originated from such a
circumstance; as also the case related by
Van Swieten*, of a whole family afflicted
with the same complaint, from such a cis-
tern. And it is highly probable that the
case of disease recorded by Dr. Duncanf,
* Van Swieten ad Boerhaave, Aphorisms, 1060,
t Medical Comment. Dec. 2, 1794.
82 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER
proceeded more from some foulness in the
cistern, than from the solvent power of the
water. In this instance the officers of the
packet boat used water for their drink and
cooking out of a leaden cistern, whilst the
sailors used the water taken from the same
source, except that theirs was kept in
wooden vessels. The consequence was,
that all the officers were seized with the
colic, and all the men continued healthy.
The carelessness of the bulk of mankind,
Dr. Lambe very justly observes, to these
things, " is so great, that to repeat them
again and again cannot be wholly useless."
Although the great majority of persons
who daily use water kept in leaden cisterns
receive no sensible injury, yet the apparent
salubrity must be ascribed to the great slow-
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS. 83
ness of its operation, and the minuteness of
the dose taken, the effects of which become
modified by different causes and different
constitutions, and according to the predis-
positions to diseases inherent in different
individuals. The supposed security of the
multitude who use the water with impunity
amounts to no more than presumption, in
favour of any individual, which may or may
not be confirmed by experience.
Independent of the morbid susceptibility
of impressions which distinguish certain ha-
bits, there is, besides, much variety in the
original constitution of the human frame, of
which we are totally ignorant.
" The susceptibility or proneness to dis-
ease of each individual, must be esteemed
peculiar to himself. Confiding to the expe-
84 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS OF WATER.
rience of others is a ground of security
which may prove fallacious ; and the danger
can with certainty be obviated only by
avoiding its source. And ^considering the
various and complicated changes of the
human frame, under different circumstances
and at different ages, it is neither impossible
nor improbable that the substances taken
into the system at one period, and even for
a series of years, with apparent impunity,
may, notwithstanding, at another period, be
eventually the occasion of disease and of
" The experience of a single person, or of
many persons, however numerous, is quite
incompetent to the decision of a question of
" The pernicious effects of an intemperate
use of spirituous liquors is not less certain
KEPT IN LEADEN RESERVOIRS. 85
because we often see habitual drunkards
enjoy a good state of health, and arrive at old
age : and the same may be said of individuals
who indulge in vices of all kinds, evidently
destructive to life ; many of whom, in spite
of their bad habits, attain to a vigorous old
In confirmation of these remarks, we ad-
duce the following account of the effect of
water contaminated by lead, given by Sir
" The most remarkable case on the sub-
ject that now occurs to my memory, is that
of Lord Ashburnham's family, in Sussex;
to which spring water was applied, from a
considerable distance, in leaden pipes. In
consequence, his Lordship's servants were
* Lambe on Spring Water.
86 METHOD OF DETECTING
every year tormented with colic, and some
of them died. An 'eminent physician, of
Battle, who corresponded with me on the
subject, sent up some gallons of that water,
which were analysed by Dr. Higgins, who
reported that the water had contained more
than the common quantity of carbonic acid ;
and that he found in it lead in solution,
which he attributed to the carbonic acid.
In consequence of this, Lord Ashburnham
substituted wooden for leaden pipes; and
from that time his family have had no par-
ticular complaints in their bowels,"
Richmond, Sept. 27, 1802.
METHOD OF DETECTING LEAD IN
ONE of the most delicate tests for detect-
ing lead, is water impregnated with sulphu-
LEAD IN WATER. 87
retted hydrogen gas, which instantly im-
parts to the fluid containing the minutest
quantity of lead, a brown or blackish tinge.
This test is so delicate that distilled water,
when condensed by a leaden pipe in a still
tub, is effected by it. To shew the action of
this test, the following experiments will
Pour into a wine-glass containing distilled
water, an equal quantity of water impreg-
nated with sulphuretted hydrogen gas: no
change will take place ; but if a J of a grain
of aeetate of lead (sugar of lead of com-
merce,) be added, the mixture will instantly
turn brown and dark-coloured.
88 METHOD OF DETECTING
To apply this test, one part of the sus-
pected water need merely to be mingled with
a like quantity of water impregnated with
sulphuretted hydrogen. Or better, a larger
quantity, a gallon for example, of the water
may be concentrated by evaporation to
about half a pint, and then submitted to the
action of the test.
Another and more efficient mode of ap-
plying this test, is, to pass a current of sul-
phuretted hydrogen gas through the sus-
pected water in the following manner.
Take a bottle* (a) or Florence flask,
adapt to the mouth of it a cork furnished
* See the Figure, page 89.
LEAD IN WATER.
with a glass tube (6) bent at right angles ;
let one leg of the tube be immersed in the
vial (c) containing the water to be examined ;
as shewn in the following sketch. Then
take one part of the sulphuret of antimony
of commerce, break it into pieces of half the
size of split pease, put it into the flask, and
pour upon it four parts of common concen-
trated muriatic acid (spirit of salt of com-
merce.) Sulphuretted hydrogen gas will
become disengaged from the materials in
abundance, and pass through the water in
the vial (c). Let the extrication of the gas
be continued for about five minutes ; and if
90 METHOD OF DETECTING
the minutest quantity of lead be present, the
water will acquire a dark-brown or blackish
tinge. The extrication of the gas is facili-
tated by the application of a gentle heat.
The action of the sulphuretted hydrogen
test, when applied in this manner, is asto-
nishingly great ; for one part of acetate of
lead may be detected by it, in 20,000 parts
Sulphate of potash, or sulphate of soda, is
likewise a very delicate test for detecting 1
* See An Analysis of the Mineral Waters of Tun-
bridge Wells, by Dr. Scudamore, p. 55.
The application of the sulphuretted hydrogen test
requires some precaution in those cases where other
metals besides lead may be expected ; because silver,
quicksilver, tin, copper, and several other metals, are
effected by it, as well as lead ; but there is no chance
of these metals being met with in common water. See
Chemical Tests, third edition, p. 207.
LEAD IN WATER. 91
minute portions of lead. Dr. Thomson* dis-
covered, by means of it, one part of lead in
in 100,000 parts of water ; and this acute
Philosopher considers it as the most une-
quivocal test of lead that we possess. Dr.
Thomson remarks that " no other precipi-
tate can well be confounded with it, except
sulphate of barytes ; and there is no proba-
bility of the presence of barytes existing in
Analysis of Tunbridge Wells Water, by Dr. Scu-
damore, p. 5$.
IT is sufficiently obvious, that few of those
commodities, which are the objects of com-
merce, are adulterated to a greater extent
than wine. All persons moderately conver-
sant with the subject, are aware, that a por-
tion of alum is added to young and meagre
red wines, for the purpose of brightening
their colour; that Brazil wood, or the husks
of elderberries and bilberries*, are employed
to impart a deep rich purple tint to red
Port of a pale, faint colour ; that gypsum is
used to render cloudy white wines transpa-
rent ; that an additional astringency is im-
* Dried bilberries are imported from Germany, under
the fallacious name of berry 'dye.
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 93
parted to immature red wines by means of
oak-wood sawdust*, and the busks of fil-
berts; and that a mixture of spoiled foreign
and home-made wines is converted into the
wretched compound frequently sold in this
town by the name of* genuine old Port.'
Various expedients are resorted to for the
purpose of communicating particular fla-
vours to insipid wines. Thus a nutty flavour
is produced by bitter almonds ; factitious
Port wine is flavoured with a tincture drawn
from the seeds of raisins ; and the ingre-
dients employed to form the bouquet of
high-flavoured wines, are sweet-brier, oris-
root, clary, cherry laurel water, and elder
* Sawdust for this purpose is chiefly supplied by the
ship-builders, and forms a regular article of commerce
of the brewers' druggists.
94 ADULTERATION OF WINE.
The flavouring ingredients used by ma-
nufacturers, may all be purchased by those
dealers in wine who are initiated in the
mysteries of the trade ; and even a manu-
script receipt book for preparing them,
and. the whole mystery of managing all
sorts of wines, may be obtained on payment
of a considerable fee.
The sophistication of wine with substances
not absolutely noxious to health, is carried
to an enormous extent in this metropolis.
Many thousand pipes of spoiled cyder are
annually brought hither from the country,
for the purpose of being converted into fac-
titious Port wine. The art of manufacturing
spurious wine is a regular trade of great
extent in this metropolis.
" There is, in this city, a certain frater-
nity of chemical operators, who work under-
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 95
ground in holes, caverns, and dark retire-
ments, to conceal their mysteries from the
eyes and observation of mankind. These
subterraneous philosophers are daily em-
ployed in the transmutation of liquors, and
by the power of magical drugs and incan-
tations, raising under the streets of London
the choicest products of the hills and val-
leys of France. They can squeeze Bour-
deaux out of the sloe, and draw Champagne
from an apple. Virgil, in that remarkable
Incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva.
Virg. Eel. iv. 29.
The ripening grape shall hang on every thorn.
seems to have hinted at this art, which ean
turn a plantation of northern hedges into a
vineyard. These adepts are known among
one another by the name of Wine-brewers ;
96 ADULTERATION OF WINE*
and, I am afraid, do great injury, not only
to Her Majesty's customs, but to the bodies
of many of her good subjects*. "
Recipes for manufacturing spurious wines
may be seen in Dr. Reece's Gazette of
Health, No. 7, and in the Supplement to the
Pharmacopoeias, p. 245.
CRUSTING OF WINE BOTTLES, AND
OTHER NEFARIOUS ARTIFICES COM-
MITTED BY FRAUDULENT WINE
THE particular and separate department
in this factitious wine trade, called crusting,
consists of lining the interior surface of
* Tatler, vol. viii. p. 110, edit. 1797, 8vo.
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 97
fempty wine-bottles, in part, with a red crust
of super-tartrate of potash , by suffering a
saturated hot solution of this salt, coloured
red with a decoction of Rrazil-wood, to crys-
tallize within them ; and after this simula-
tion of maturity is perfected, they are filled
with the compound called Port Wine.
Other artisans are regularly employed in
staining the lower extremities of bottle-corks
with a fine red colour, to appear, on being
drawn, as if they had been long in contact
with the wine.
The preparation of an astringent extract,
to produce, from spoiled home-made and
foreign wines, a " genuine old Port," by
mere admixture ; or to impart to a weak
wine a rough austere taste, a fine colour,
and a peculiar flavour ; forms one branch of
the business of particular wine-coopers ;
98 ADULTERATION OF WINE,
while the mellowing and restoring of spoiled
white wines, is the sole occupation of men
who are called refiners of wine.
We have stated that a crystalline crust
is formed on the interior surface of bottles,
for the purpose of misleading the unwary
into a belief that the wine contained in them
is of a certain age. A correspondent oper-
ation is performed on the wooden cask ; the
whole interior of which is stained artificially
with a crystalline crust of super-tartrate of
potash, artfully affixed in a manner pre-
cisely similar to that before stated. Thus
the wine-merchant, after bottling off a pipe
of wine, is enabled to impose on the under-
standing of his customers, by taking to
pieces the cask, and exhibiting the beautiful
dark coloured and fine crystalline crust, as
an indubitable proof of the age of the wine ;
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 99
a practice by no means uncommon, to flatter
the vanity of those who pride themselves
in their acute discrimination of wines.
These and many other sophistications,
which have long been practised with impu-
nity, are considered as legitimate by those
who pride themselves for their skill in the
art of managing, or, according to the fa-
miliar phrase, doctoring wines. The plea
alledged in exculpation of them, is, that,
though deceptive, they are harmless : but
even admitting this as a palliation, yet they
form only one department of an art which
includes other processes of a tendency ab-
_ Several well-authenticated facts have con-
vinced me that the adulteration of wine
with substances deleterious to health, is cer-
tainly practised oftener than is, perhaps,
100 ADULTERATION OF WINE*
suspected ; and it would be easy to give
some instances of very serious effects hav-
ing arisen from wines contaminated with
deleterious substances, were this a subject
on which I meant to speak. The following
statement is copied from the Monthly Ma-
gazine for March 1811, p. 188.
" On the 17th of January, the passengers
by the Highflyer coach, from the north,
dined, as usual, at Newark. A bottle of
Port wine was ordered ; on tasting which,
one of the passengers observed that it had
an unpleasant flavour, and begged that it
might be changed. The waiter took away
the bottle, poured into a fresh decanter
half the wine which had been objected to,
and filled it up from another bottle. This
he took into the room, and the greater
part was drank by the passengers, who,
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 101
after the coach had set out towards Grarv-
tham, were seized with extreme sickness ;
one gentleman in particular, who had taken
more of the wine than the others, it was
thought would have died, but has since re-
covered. The half of the bottle of wine sent
out of the passengers' room, was put aside
for the purpose of mixing negus. In the
evening, Mr. Bland, of Newark, went into
the hotel, and drank a glass or two of wine
$nd water. He returned home at his usual
hour, and went to bed; in the middle of the
night he was taken so ill, as to induce Mrs.
Bland to send for his brother, an apothecary
in the town ; but before that gentleman ar-
rived, he was dead. An inquest was held,
and the jury, after the fullest inquiry, and
the examination of the surgeons by whom
102 ADULTERATION OF WINE.
the body was opened, returned a verdict of
Died by Poison."
DANGEROUS ADULTERATION OF WINE
WITH POISONOUS SUBSTANCES.
THE most dangerous adulteration of wine
is by some preparations of lead, which pos-
sess the property of stopping the progress
of acescence of wine, and also of rendering
white wines, when muddy, transparent. I
have good reason to state that lead is cer-
tainly employed for this purpose. The
effect is very rapid ; and there appears to
be no other method known, of rapidly re-
covering ropy wines. Wine merchants per-
suade themselves that the miniate quantity
ADULTERATION OP WINE. 103
of lead employed for that purpose is per-
fectly harmless, and that no atom of lead
remains in the wine* Chemical analysis
proves the contrary; and the practice of
clarifying spoiled white wines by means of
lead, must be pronounced as highly dele-
Lead* in whatever state it be taken into
the stomach, occasions terrible diseases ;
and wine, adulterated with the minutest
quantity of it, becomes a slow poison. The
merchant or dealer who practises this dan-
gerous sophistication, adds the crime of
murder to that of fraud, and deliberately
scatters the seeds of disease and death
among those consumers who contribute to
his emolument. If to debase the current
coin of the realm be denounced as a capital
offence, what punishment should be awarded
104 ADULTERATION OF WINE*
against a practice which converts into poison
a liquor used for sacred purposes ?
Dr. Watson* relates, that the method of
adulterating wine with lead, was at one time
a common practice in Paris.
Dr. Warren f states an instance of thirty-
two persons having become severely ill,
after drinking white wine that had been
adulterated with lead. One of them died,
and one became paralytic.
In Graham's Treatise on Wine-Making J,
under the article of Secrets, belonging to
the mysteries of vintners, p. 31, lead is re-
* Chemical Essays, vol. viii. p. 369.
t Medical Trans, vol. ii. p. 80.
J This book, which has run through many editions,
may be supposed to have done some mischief. In the
Vintner's Guide, 4th edit. 1770, p. 67, a lump of sugar
of lead, of the size of a walnut, and a table-spoonful of
sal eni^um, are a*irected to be added to a tierce (forty-
$wo gallons) of muddy wine 3 to cure it of its muddiness*
ADULTERATION OF WINE, 105
commended to prevent wine from becoming
acid. The following lines are copied from
Mr. Graham's work :
" To hinder Wine from turning.
" Put a pound of melted lead, in fair
water, into your cask, pretty warm, and stop
" To soften Grey Wine.
" Put in a little vinegar wherein litharge
has been well steeped, and boil some honey,
to draw out the wax. Strain it through a
cloth, and put a quart of it into a tierce of
wine, and this will mend it."
ACCIDENTAL IMPREGNATION OF WINE
IT is well known that bottles in which
wine has been kept, are usually cleaned
106 ADULTERATION OF WINE.
by means of shot, which by its rolling motion
detaches the super-tartrite of potash from
the sides of the bottles. This practice, which
is generally pursued by wine-merchants,
may give rise to serious consequences, as
will become evident from the following-
" A gentleman who had never in his life
experienced a day's illness, and who was
constantly in the habit of drinking half a
bottle of Madeira wine after his dinner, was
taken ill, three hours after dinner, with a se-
vere pain in the stomach and violent bowel
colic, which gradually yielded within twelve
hours to the remedies prescribed by his
medical adviser. The day following he
drank the remainder of the same bottle of
* Philosophical Magazine, 1819, No. 257/p. 229.
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 107
wine which was left the preceding day, and
within two hours afterwards he was again
seized with the most violent colliquative
pains, headach, shiverings, and great pain
over the whole body. His apothecary be-
coming suspicious that the wine he had
drunk might be the cause of the disease,
ordered the bottle from which the wine had
been decanted, to be brought to him, with
a view that he might examine the dregs, if
any were left. The bottle happening to slip
out of the hand of the servant, disclosed a
row of shot wedged forcibly into the angu-
lar bent-up circumference of it. On ex-
amining the beads of shot, they crumbled
into dust, the outer crust (defended by a
coat of black lead with which the shot is
glazed) being alone left unacted on, whilst
the remainder of the metal was dissolved.
108 ADULTERATION OF WINE,
The wine, therefore, had become contami-
nated with lead and arsenic, the shot being-
a compound of these metals, which no
doubt had produced the mischief."
TEST FOR DETECTING THE DELETE-
RIOUS ADULTERATIONS OF WINE.
A READY re-agent for detecting the pre-
sence of lead, or any other deleterious metal
in wine, is known by the name of the wine
test. It consists of water saturated with
sulphuretted hydrogen gas, acidulated with
muriatic acid. By adding one part of it, to
two of wine, or any other liquid suspected
to contain lead, a dark coloured or black
precipitate will fall down, which does not
disappear by an addition of muriatic acid
ADULTERATION OP WINE. 109
and this precipitate, dried and fused before
the blowpipe on a piece of charcoal, yields a
globule of metallic lead. This test does not
precipitate iron ; the muriatic acid retains
iron in solution when combined with sul-
phuretted hydrogen; and any acid in the
wine has no effect in precipitating any of
the sulphur of the test liquor. Or a still
more efficacious method is, to pass a current
of sulphuretted hydrogen gas through the
wine, in the manner described, p. 89, having
previously acidulated the wine with muria-
The wine test sometimes employed is pre-
pared in the following manner : Mix equal
parts of finely powdered sulphur and of
slaked quick-lime, and expose it to a red
heat for twenty minutes. To thirty-six
grains of this sulphate of lime, add twenty-
110 ADULTERATION OF WINE.
six grains of stiper-tartrate of potassa ; put
the mixture into an ounce bottle, and fill up
the bottle with water that has been previ-
ously boiled, and suffered to cool. The li-
quor, after having been repeatedly shaken,
and allowed to become clear, by the subsi-
dence of the undissolved matter, may then
be poured into another phial, into which
about twenty drops of muriatic acid have
been previously put. It is then ready for
use. This test, when mingled with wine
containing lead or copper, turns the wine of
a dark-brown or black colour. But the
mere application of sulphuretted hydrogen
gas to wine, acidulated by muriatic acid, is
a far more preferable mode of detecting lead
ADULTERATION OF WINE. Ill
METHOD OF DETECTING EXTRANEOUS
COLOURS IN RED WINE.
M. VOGEL* has lately recommended ace-
tate of lead as a test for detecting extrane-
ous colours in red wine. He remarks, that
none of the substances that can be employed
for colouring wine, such as the berries of the
Vaccinium Martillus (bilberries,) elderber-
ries, and Campeach wood, produce with ge-
nuine red wine, a greenish grey precipitate,
which is the colour that is procured by this
test by means of genuine red wines.
Wine coloured with the juice of the bil-
berries, or elderberries, or Campeach wood,
* Journ. Pharm. iv. 56. (Feb. 1818,) and Thomson's
Annals, Sept. 1818, p. 232.
112 ADULTERATION OF WINE,
produces, with acetate of lead, a deep blue
precipitate ; and Brazil-wood, red saunders,
and the red beet, produce a colour which is
precipitated red by acetate of lead. Wine
coloured by beet root is also rendered co-
lourless by lime water ; but the weakest
acid brings back the colour. As the colour-
ing matter of red wines resides in the skin
of the grape, M. Vogel prepared a quantity
of skins, and reduced them to powder. In
this state he found that they communicated
to alcohol a deep red colour : a paper stained
with this colour was rendered red by acids
and green by alkalies.
M. Vogel made a quantity of red wine
from black grapes, for the purpose of his ex-
periments ; and this produced the genuine
greyish green precipitate with acetate of
lead. He also found the same coloured
ANALYSIS OF WINE. 113
precipitate in two specimens of red wine, the
genuineness of which could not be sus*
pected; the one from Chateau-Margeaux,
and the other from the neighbourhood of
SPECIFIC DIFFERENCES OF VARIOUS
KINDS OF FOREIGN WINES.
EVERY body knows that no product of
the arts varies so much as wine ; that dif-
ferent countries, and sometimes the different
provinces of the same country, produce dif-
ferent wines. These differences, no doubt,
must be attributed chiefly to the climate in
which the vineyard is situated to its cul-
ture the quantity of sugar contained in the
grape juice the manufacture of the wine,
114 ANALYSIS OP WINE.
or tbe mode of suffering its fermentation
to be accomplished. If the grapes be ga-
thered unripe, the wine abounds with acid ;\
but if the fruit be gathered ripe, the wine
will be rich. When the proportion of sugar
in the grape is sufficient, and the fermenta-
tion complete, the wine is perfect and ge-
nerous. If the quantity of sugar be too
large, part of it remains undecomposed, as
the fermentation is languid, and the wine is
sweet and luscious ; if, on the contrary, it
contains, even when full ripe, only a small
portion of sugar, the wine is thin and weak ;
and if it be bottled before the fermentation
be completed, part of the sugar remains un-
decomposed, the fermentation will go on
slowly in the bottle, and on drawing the
cork, the wine sparkles in the glass ; as, for
example, Champagne. Such wines are not
ANALYSIS OF WINE. 115
sufficiently mature. When the must is
separated from the husk of the red grape
before it is fermented, the wine has little or
no colour : these are called white wines. I
on the contrary, the husks are allowed to
remain in the must while the fermentation
is going on, the alcohol dissolves the colour-
ing matter of the husks, and the wine is co-
loured : such are called red wines. Hence
white wines are often prepared from red
grapes, the liquor being drawn off before it
has acquired the red colour; for the skin of
the grape only gives the colour. Besides
in these principal circumstances, wines
vary much in flavour.
CHEMICAJL CONSTITUTION AND COM-
PONENT PARTS OF WINE.
ALL wines contain one common and iden-
tical principle, from which their similar
116 ANALYSIS OF WINE.
effects are produced : namely, brandy or
alcohol. It is especially by the different
proportions of brandy contained in wines,
that they differ most from one another.
When wine is distilled, the alcohol readily
separates* The spirit thus obtained is well
known under the name of brandy.
All wines contain also a free acid; hence
they turn blue tincture of cabbage, red.
The acid found in the greatest abundance
in grape wines, is tartaric acid. Every
wine contains likewise a portion of super-
tartrate of potash, and extractive matter, de-
rived from the juice of the grape. These
substances deposit slowly in the vessel in
which they are kept. To this is owing the
improvement of wine from age. Those
wines which effervesce or froth, when
poured into a glass, contain also carbonic
acid, to which their briskness is owing.
ANALYSIS OF WINE. 117
The peculiar flavour and odour of different
kinds of wine probably depend upon the
presence of a volatile oi7, so small in quan-
tity that it cannot be separated.
METHOD OF ASCERTAINING THE QUAN-
TITY OF SPIRIT CONTAINED IN VA-
RIOUS SORTS OF WINE.
THE strength of all wines depends upon
the quantity of alcohol or brandy which they
contain, Mr. Brande, and Gay Lussac,
have proved, by very decisive experiments,
that all wines contain brandy or alcohol
ready formed. The following is the process
discovered by Mr. Brande, for ascertaining
the quantity of spirit, or brandy, contained
in different sorts of wine.
118 ANALYSIS OF WINE.
Add to eight parts, by measure, of the
wine to be examined, one part of a concen-
trated solution of sub-acetate of lead: a
dense insoluble precipitate will ensue;
which is a combination of the test liquor with
the colouring, extractive, and acid matter of
the wine. Shake the mixture for a few mi-
nutes, pour the whole upon a filtre, and
collect the filtered fluid. It contains the
brandy or spirit, and water of the wine,
together with a portion of the sub-acetate of
lead. Add, in small quantities at a time, to
this fluid, warm, dry, and pure sub-carbo-
nate of potash (not salt of tartar, or sub-
carbonate of potash of commerce), which
has previously been freed from water by
heat, till the last portion added remains un-
ANALYSIS OF WINE, 119
dissolved. The brandy or spirit contained
in the fluid will become separated ; for the
sub-carbonate of potash abstracts from it the
whole of the water with which it was com-
bined ; the brandy or spirit of wine forming
a distinct stratum, which floats upon the
aqueous solution of the alkaline salt. If the
experiment be made in a glass tube, from
one half inch to two inches in diameter, and
graduated into 100 equal parts, the per cen-
tage of spirit, in a given quantity of wine,
may be read off by mere inspection. In this
manner the strength of any wine may be
QUANTITY OF BRANDY
Per Centage of Alcohol* contained in
various kinds of Wine and other fer-
Proportion of Spirit
Proportion of Spirit
* Of a Specific Gravity, 825.^-
t Philosophical Trans. 1811, p. 345; 1813, p. 87;
Journal of Science and the Arts, No viii. p. 290.
CONTAINED IN WINE.
Ditto (old iu cask).
122 ADULTERATION OF WINE.
Red Hermitage 12,32 Mead 7,32
Vin de Grave 13,94 Ale (Burton) 8,88
Ditto 12,80 Ditto (Edinburgh). 6,20
Average 13,37 Ditto (Dorchester). 5,50
Frontignac 12,79 Average 6,87
Cote Rotie 12,32 Brown Stout 6,80
Gooseberry Wine... 11,84 LondonPorteraverage4,20
Currant Wine 20,55 Do. SmaUBeer, do. 1,28
Orange Wine average 11, 26 Brandy 53,39
Tokay 9,88 Rum 53,68
Elder Wine 9,87 Gin 51,60
Cyder highest average 9,87 Scotch Whiskey 54,32
Ditto lowest ditto... 5,21 Irish ditto 53,90
Perry average 7,26
CHEMICAL CONSTITUTION OF HOME-
BESIDES grapes, the most valuable of the
articles of which wine is made, there are a
considerable number of fruits from which a
vinous liquor is obtained. Of such, we have
in this country the gooseberry, the currant,
ADULTERATION OF WINE. 123
the elderberry, the cherry, &c. which fer-
ment well, and afford what are called home-
They differ chiefly from foreign wines in
containing a much larger quantity of acid.
Dr. Macculloch* has remarked that the acid
in home-made wines is principally the malic
acid ; while in grape wines it is the tartaric
The great deficiency in these wines, inde-
pendent of the flavour, which chiefly origi-
nates, not from the juice, but from the seeds
and husks of the fruits, is the excess of acid,
Which is but imperfectly concealed by the
addition of sugar. This is owing, chiefly, as
Dr. Macculloch remarks, to the tartaric acid
* Macculloch on Wine. This is by far the best
Treatise published in this country on the Manufacture
of Home-made Wines.
124 ADULTERATION OP WINE.
existing in the grape juice in the state of
super-tartrate of potash, which is in part de-
composed during the fermentation, and the
rest becomes gradually precipitated ; whilst
the malic acid exists in the currant and
gooseberry juice in the form of malate of
potash; which salt does not appear to suffer
a decomposition during the fermentation of
the wine ; and, by its greater solubility, is
retained in the wine. Hence Dr. Maccul-
loch recommends the addition of super-tar-
trate of potash, in the manufacture of Bri-
tish wines. They also contain a much
larger proportion of mucilage than wines
made from grapes. The juice of the goose-
berry contains some portion of the tartaric
acid ; hence it is better suited for the pro-
duction of what is called English Cham-
pagne, than any other fruit of this country.
THIS is one of the sophistications of the
articles of food most commonly practised in
this metropolis, where the goodness of bread
is estimated entirely by its whiteness. It is
therefore usual to add a certain quantity of
alum to the dough ; this improves the look
of the bread very much, and renders it whiter
and firmer. Good, white, and porous bread
may certainly be manufactured from good
wheaten flour alone; but to produce the
degree of whiteness rendered indispensable
by the caprice of the consumers in London,
it is necessary (unless the very best flour is
employed,) that the dough should be
bleached; and no substance has hitherto
126 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
been found to answer this purpose better
Without this 'salt, it is impossible to make
bread, from the kind of flour usually em-
ployed by the London bakers, so white as
that which is commonly sold in the metro-
If the alum be omitted, the bread has a
slight yellowish grey hue as may be seen
in the instance of what is called home-made
bread, of private families.
The quantity of alum requisite to produce
the required whiteness and porosity, depends
entirely upon the genuineness of the flour,
and the quality of the grain from which the
flour is obtained. The mealman makes dif-
ferent sorts of flour from the same kind of
grain, The best flour is mostly used by the
biscuit bakers and pastry cooks, and the in-
ADULTERATION OF BREAD. 127
ferior sorts in the making* of bread. The
bakers' flour is very often made of the worst
kinds of foreign damaged wheat, and other
cereal grains mixed with them in grinding*
the wheat into flour. In this capital, no
fewer than six distinct kinds of wheaten
flour are brought into market. They are
called line flour, seconds, middlings, fine
middlings, coarse middlings, and twenty-
penny flour. Common garden beans, and
pease, are also frequently ground up among
the London bread flour.
ADULTERATION OF BREAD WITH ALUM.
I have been assured by several bakers^on
whose testimony I can rely, that the small
profit attached to the bakers' trade, and the
128 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
bad quality of the flour, induce the genera-
lity of the London bakers to use alum in the
making 1 of their bread.
The smallest quantity of alum that can be
employed with effect to produce awhite,1ight,
and porous bread, from an inferior kind of
flour,I have my own baker's authority to state,
is from three to four ounces to a sack of flour,
weighing 240 pounds. The alum is either
mixed well in the form of powder, with a
quantity of flour previously made into a
liquid paste with water, and then incorpo-
rated with the dough ; or the alum is dis-
solved in the water employed for mixing up
the whole quantity of the flour for making
Let us suppose that the baker intends to
convert five bushels, or a sack of flour into
loaves with the least adulteration practised.
ADULTERATION OP BREAD. 129
He pours the flour into the kneading trough,
and sifts it through a fine wire sieve, which
makes it lie very light, and serves to sepa-
rate any impurities with which the flour may
be mixed. Two ounces of alum are then
dissolved in about a quart of boiling water,
and the solution poured into the seasoning-
tub. Four or five pounds of salt are like-
wise put into the tub, and a pailful of hot-,
water. When this mixture has cooled down
to the temperature of about 84, three or four
pints of yeast are added ; the whole is mixed,
strained through the seasoning sieve, emp-
tied into a hole in the flour, and mixed up
with the requisite portion of it to the consis-
tence of a thick batter. Some dry flour is
then sprinkled over the top, and it is covered
up with cloths.
In this situation it is left about three
130 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
hours. It gradually swells and breaks
through the dry flour scattered on its sur-
face. An additional quantity of warm water,
in which one ounce of alum is dissolved, is
now added, and the dough is made up into
a paste as before ; the whole is then covered
up. In this situation it is left for a few
The whole is then intimately kneaded with
more water for upwards of an hour. The
dough is cut into pieces with a knife, and
penned to one side of the trough ; some dry
flour is sprinkled over it, and it is left in
this state for about four hours. It is then
kneaded again for half an hour. The dough
is now cut into pieces and weighed, in order
to furnish the requisite quantity for each
loaf. The loaves are left in the oven about
two ours and a half. When taken out, they
ADULTERATION OF BREAD. 131
are carefully covered up, to prevent as much
as possible the loss of weight.
The following account of making a sack,
or five bushels of flour, into bread, is taken
from Dr. P. Markhatn's Considerations ou
the Ingredients used in the Adulteration of
Bread Flour and Bread, p. 21 :
Five bushels of flour, eight ounces of
alum*, four pounds of salt, half a gallon of
yeast, mixed with about three gallons of
The theory of the bleaching property of
alum, as manifested in the panification of an
* Whilst correcting this sheet for the press,, the prin-
ter transmits to me the following lines :
ec On Saturday last,, Mr. Wood, a baker, was con-
victed before T. Evance, Esq. Union Hall, of having in
his possession a quantity of alum for the adulteration
of bread, and fined in the penalty of 5. and costs,
under 55 Geo. III. c. 99." The Times, Oct. 1819,
132 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
inferior kind of flour, is by no means well
understood ; and indeed it is really surpris-
ing that the effect should be produced by so
small a quantity of that substance ; two or
three ounces of alum being sufficient for a
sack of flour.
From experiments in which I have been
employed, with the assistance of skilful
bakers, I am authorised to state, that with-
out the addition of alum, it does not appear
possible to make white, light, and porous
bread, such as is used in this metropolis,
unless the flour be of the very best quality.
Another substance employed by fraudu-
lent bakers, is subcarbonate of ammonia.
With this salt, they realize the important
consideration of producing light and porous
bread, from spoiled, or what is technically
called sour flour. This salt, which becomes
ADULTERATION OF BREAD. 133
wholly converted into a gaseous state dur-
ing the operation of baking, causes the
dough to swell up into air bubbles, which
carry before them the stiff dough, and thus
it renders the dough porous ; the salt itself
is, at the same time, totally volatilised dur-
ing the operation of baking. Thus not a
vestige of carbonate of ammonia remains in
the bread. This salt is also largely em-
ployed by the biscuit and ginger-bread
ADULTERATION OF BREAD WITH
POTATOES are likewise largely, and per-
haps constantly, used by fraudulent bakers,
as a cheap ingredient, to enhance their pro-
fit. The potatoes being boiled, are tritu-
134 ADULTERATION OF BREAD,
rated, passed through a sieve, and incorpo-
rated with the dough by kneading. This
adulteration does not materially injure the
bread. The bakers assert, that the bad
quality of the flour renders the addition of
potatoes advantageous as well to the baker
as to the purchaser, and that without this
admixture in the manufacture of bread, it
would be impossible to carry on the trade
of a baker. But the grievance is, that the
same price is taken for a potatoe loaf, as for
a loaf of genuine bread, though it must cost
the baker less.
I have witnessed, that five bushels of flour,
three ounces of alum, six pounds of salt, one
bushel of potatoes boiled into a stiff paste,
and three quarts of yeast, with the requisite
quantity of water, produce a white, light,
and highly palatable bread.
ADULTERATION OF BREAD. 135
Such are the artifices practised in the
preparation of bread* ; and it must be al-
lowed, on contrasting them with those so-
phistications practised by manufacturers of
other articles of food, that they are compa-
ratively unimportant. However, some me-
dical men have no hesitation in attributing
many diseases incidental to children to the
use of eating adulterated bread ; others
again will not admit these allegations: they
persuade themselves that the small quantity
of alum added to the bread (perhaps, upon
an average, from eight to ten grains to a
quartern loaf,) is absolutely harmless.
* There are instances of convictions on record, of
bakers having used gypsum, chalk, and pipe clay, in
the manufacture of bread.
136 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
Mr. Edmund Davy, Professor of Chemis-
try, at the Cork Institution, has communi-
cated the following important facts to the
public concerning the manufacture of
" The carbonate of magnesia of the shops,
when well mixed with flour, in the propor-
tion of from twenty to forty grains to a
pound of flour, materially improves it for the
purpose of making bread.
" Loaves made with the addition of car-
bonate of magnesia, rise well in the oven ;
and after being baked, the bread is light
and spongy, has a good taste, and keeps
well. In cases when the new flour is of an
indifferent quality, from twenty to thirty
grains of carbonate of magnesia to a pound
of the flour will considerably improve the
ADULTERATION OF BREAD. 137
bread. When the flour is of the worst qua-
lity, forty grains to a pound of flour seem
necessary to produce the same effect.
" As the improvement in the bread from
new flour depends upon the carbonate of
magnesia, it is necessary that care should be
taken to mix it intimately with the flour,
previous to making the dough.
" Mr. Davy made a great number of com-
parative experiments with other substances,
mixed in different proportions with new
bread flour. The fixed alkalies, both in
their pure and carbonated state, when used
in small quantity, to a certain extent were
found to improve the bread made from new
flour ; but no substance was so efficacious in
this respect as carbonate of magnesia.
" The greater number of his experiments
were performed on the worst new seconds
138 ADULTERATION OF BREAD.
flour Mr. Davy could procure. He also
made some trials on seconds and firsts of
different quality. lu some cases the results
were more striking and satisfactory than in
others ; but in every instance the improve-
ment of the bread, by carbonate of magnesia,
" Mr. Davy observes, that a pound of
carbonate of magnesia would be sufficient
to mix with two hundred and fifty-six
pounds of new flour, or at the rate of thirty
grains to the pound. And supposing a
pound of carbonate of magnesia to cost
half-a-crown, the additional expence w r ould
be only half a farthing in the pound of
" Mr. Davy conceives that not the slight-
est danger can be apprehended from the
use of such an innocent substance as the
METHOD OF DETECTING ALUM IN BREAD. 139 *
carbonate of magnesia, in such small propor-
tions as are necessary to improve bread from
METHOD OF DETECTING THE PRE-
SENCE OF ALUM IN BREAD.
POUR upon two ounces of the suspected
bread, half a pint of boiling distilled water ;
boil the mixture for a few minutes, and filter
it through unsized paper. Evaporate the
fluid to about one fourth of its original bulk,
and let gradually fall into the clear fluid
a solution of muriate of barytes. If a co+
pious white precipitate ensue, which does
not disappear by the addition of pure nitrie
acid, the presence of alum may be suspected.
Bread, made without alum, produces, when
assayed in this manner, merely a very slight
140 METHOD OP DETECTING ALUM IN BREAD.
precipitate, which originates from a minute
portion of sulphate of magnesia contained
in all common salt of commerce ; and bread
made with salt freed from sulphate of mag-
nesia, produces an infusion with water,
which does not become disturbed by the
Other means of detecting all the consti-
tuent parts of alum, namely, the alumine,
sulphuric acid, and potash, so as to render
the presence of the alum unequivocal, will
readily suggest itself to those who are fa-
miliar with analytical chemistry; namely:
one of the readiest means is, to decompose
the vegetable matter of the bread, by the
action of chlorate of potash, in a platina
crucible, at a red heat, and then to assay
the residuary mass, by means of muriate
of barytes for sulphuric acid ; by ammonia,
METHOD OF DETECTING ALUM IN BREAD. 141
for alumine ; and by muriate of platina, for
potash*. The above method of detecting
the presence of alum, must therefore be
taken with some limitation.
There is no unequivocal test for detect-
ing in a ready manner the presence of alum
in bread, on account of the impurity of the
common salt used in the making of bread.
If we could, in the ordinary way of bread
making, employ common salt, absolutely
free from foreign saline substances, the
mode of detecting the presence of alum
would be very easy. Some conjecture
may, nevertheless, be formed of the pre-
sence, or absence, of alum, by assaying the
* See a Practical Treatise on the Use and Applica-
tion of Chemical Tests, illustrated by experiments, 3d
edition, p. 270, 231, 177, and 196.
142 METHOD OF JUDGING OF THE GOODNESS
infusion of bread in the manner stated,
p. 139, and comparing the assay with the
results afforded by an infusion of home-
made or household bread, known to be
genuine, and actually assayed in a similar
METHOD OF JUDGING OF THE GOODNESS
OF BREAD-CORN AND BREAD-FLOUR.
MILLERS judge of the goodness of bread
corn by the quantity of bran which the
Such grains as are full and plump, that
have a bright and shining appearance,
without any shrivelling and shrinking in
the covering* of the skin, are the best; for
wrinkled grains have a greater quantity of
OF BREAD-CORN AND FLOUR. 143
skin, or bran, than such as are sound or
Pastry-cooks and bakers judge of the
goodness of flour in the manner in which it
comports itself in kneading. The best kind
of wheaten flour assumes, at the instant
it is formed into paste by the addition
of water,* a very gluey, ductile, and elastic
paste, easy to be kneaded, and which may
be elongated, flattened, and drawn in every
direction, without breaking.
For the following fact we are indebted to
Mr. Hatchet :
" Grain, which has been heated or burnt
in the stack, may in the following man-
ner be rendered fit for being made into
" The wheat must be put into a vessel
capable of holding at l^ast three times the
144 METHOD OF CURING MUSTY WHEAT.
quantity, and the vessel filled with boiling-
water; the grain should then be occa-
sionally stirred, and the hollow decayed
grains, which float, may be removed. When
the water has become cold, or in about half
an hour, it is drawn off. Then rince the
corn with cold water, and, having com-
pletely drained it, spread it thinly on the
floor of a kiln, and thus thoroughly dry it,
stirring and turning it frequently during
this part of the process.*"
Phil. Trans, for 1817, part 1.
MALT LIQUORS, and particularly porter,
the favourite beverage of the inhabitants
of London, and of other large towns, is
amongst those articles, in the manufacture
of which the greatest frauds are frequently
The statute prohibits the brewer from
using any ingredients in his brewings, ex-
cept malt and hops ; but it too often happens
that those who suppose they are drinking a
nutritious beverage, made of these ingre-
dients only, are entirely deceived. The
beverage may, in fact, be neither more nor
146 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
less than a compound of the most delete-
rious substances ; and it is also clear that
all ranks of society are alike exposed to the
nefarious fraud. The proofs of this state-
ment will be shown hereafter*.
The author f of a Practical Treatise on
Brewing, which has run through eleven
editions, after having stated the various
ingredients for brewing porter, observes,
" that however much they may surprise,
" however pernicious or disagreeable they
" may appear, he has always found them
" requisite in the brewing of porter, and
" he thinks they must invariably be used
" by those who wish to continue the taste,
* See pages 158, 171, 181.
t Child, on Brewing Porter,, p. 7.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 147
" flavour, and appearance of the beer*.
" And though several Acts of Parliament
" have been passed to prevent porter brew-
" ers from using many of them, yet the
" author can affirm, from experience, he
** could never produce the present flavoured
" porter without them -f. The intoxicating
" qualities of porter are to be ascribed to
" the various drugs intermixed with it. It
u is evident some porter is more heady than
" other, and it arises from the grea(er or
i4 less quantity of stupifying ingredients.
" Malt, to produce intoxication, must be
" used in such large quantities as would
" very much diminish, if not totally ex-
" elude, the brewer's profit."
* Child, on Brewing Porter, p. 16.
t Ibid, p. 16.
148 ADULTERATION OP BEER.
EARLY PRACTICE OF ADULTERATING
BEER WITH SUBSTANCES NOXIOUS
TO HEALTH, AND RAPID PROGRESS
OF THIS FRAUD.
THE practice of adulterating beer appears
to be of early date. By an Act so long
ago as Queen Anne, the brewers are pro-
hibited from mixing cocculus indicus, or
any unwholesome ingredients, in their beer,
under severe penalties : but few instances of
convictions under this Act are to be met with
in the public records for nearly a century.
To shew that they have augmented in our
own days, we shall exhibit an abstract from
documents laid lately before Parliament*.
* " Minutes of the Committee of the House of Com-
mons, to whom the petition of several inhabitant* of
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 149
These will not only amply prove, that
unwholesome ingredients are used by frau-
dulent brewers, and that very deleterious
substances are also vended both to brewers
and publicans for adulterating beer, but
that the ingredients mixed up in the brew-
er's enchanting cauldron are placed above
all competition, even with the potent charms
of Macbeth's witches :
" Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark,
" For a charm of pow'rful trouble,
" Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
London and its vicinity, complaining of the high price
and inferior quality of beer, was referred, to examine
the matter thereof, and to report the same, with their
observations thereupon, to the House. Printed by
order of the House of Commons, April 1819."
150 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
Mr. Morris* recommends the following
Receipt for brewing Porter :
Cwt. Qrs. Ib.
Malt, 25 Quarters.
Hops. 1 2
Cocculus Indicus Berry 6
Xeghorn Juice 30
Cwt. Qrs. Ibs,
Malt, 20 Quarters.
Cocculus Indicus Berry 00 4
Sugar .0 28
Fabia Amara 6
To make up a Vat of 150 Barrels*
Use half a barrel of colouring, cwt
of cream of tarter, \ cwt. of ground alum,
* Morris on Brewing- Malt Liquors, p. 38, and H6.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 151
1 pound of salt of steel, and two barrels
of strong finings. Mix these well together,
and put them in a vat, rousing it thoroughly
at the same time. Let the vat remain open
three days ; then close it and sand it over*
In a fortnight it will be fit for use. Your
own good sense will inform you how, to
The following are some of the Articles
used by fraudulent Brewers, and recom-
mended by Mr. Morris.
Colouring. " I should recommend to
every brewer to provide himself with a
sufficient quantity, as it gives a good face
to the beer, and enables you to gratify the
sight of your different customers.
Cocculus Indicus. " Cocculus Indicus is
used as a substitute for malt and hops, and
is a great preservative of malt liquor ; it
152 ADULTERATION OF BEER,
prevents second fermentation in bottled beer,,
and consequently the bursting of the bottles
in warm climates. Its effect is of an inebri-
" Calamus Ar omaticus is used in the brew-
ery as a succedaneum for hops and strength,
by slicing it thin, and boiling it a short time
with the hops ; one pound of which is equal
to six pounds of hops.
" Quassia leaves so severe a bitter on the
palate, long after the liquor is drank, that
it requires much judgment in using it.
" Coriander is much used by brewers, to
give a flavour to ales.
" Capsicum, or guinea pepper, is used in
ales and amber.
" Caraway Seed is put into ales, for the
flavour ; and is used in the tun.
" Grams of Paradise are of a warm na-
ttire also, and are used in ales.
ADULTERATION OF BEER, 153
** Ginger. This article, when used in the
brewery, is always ground fine ; and made
use of in the tun at the time of cleansing,
" Beans tend to mellow malt liquor ; and,
from their properties, add much to its inebri-
ating qualities ; but they must not be used
in too large a quantity.
" Oyster Shells are very good to recover
sour beer : but when used, you must leave
the bung out.
" Alum is generally put into the vat, as it
gives the beer a smack of age."
Such are the articles recommended by
The fraud of imparting to porter and ale
an intoxicating quality by narcotic sub-
stances, appears to have flourished during
the period of the late French war: for, if
154 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
we examine the importation lists of drugs, it
will be noticed that the quantities of coc-
culus indicus imported in a given time prior
to that period, will bear no comparison with
the quantity imported in the same space of
time during the war, although an additional
duty was laid upon this commodity. Such
has been the amount brought into this
country in five years, that it far exceeds the
quantity imported during twelve years an-
terior to the above epoch. The price of this
drug has risen within these ten years from
two shillings to seven shillings the pound.
It was at the period to which we have
alluded, that the preparation of an extract
of cocculus indicus first appeared, as a new
saleable commodity* in the price-currents
of br eivers* -drug gist s* It was at the same
time, also, that a Mr. Jackson, of notorious
ADULTERATlbN OF BEER. 155
memory, fell upon the idea of brewing beer
from various drugs, without any malt and
hops. This chemist did not turn brewer
himself; but he struck out the more pro-
fitable trade of teaching his mystery to the
brewers for a handsome fee. From that
time forwards, written directions, and re-
ceipt-books for using the chemical prepa-
rations to be substituted for malt and hops,
were respectively sold; and many adepts
soon afterwards appeared every where, to
instruct brewers in the nefarious practice,
first pointed out by Mr. Jackson. From
that time, also, the fraternity of brewers'
chemists took its rise. They made it their
chief business to send travellers a!! over the
country with lists and samples exhibiting
the price and quality of the articles manu-
factured by them for the use of brewers
156 ADULTERATION Of BEER*
only. Their trade spread far and wide, but
it was amongst the country brewers chiefly
that they found the most customers; and
it is amongst them, up to the present day y
as I am assured by some of these opera-
tors, on whose veracity I can rely, that the
greatest quantities of unlawful ingredients
The Act of Parliament* prohibits che-
mists, grocers, and druggists, from supply-
ing illegal ingredients to brewers under a
heavy penalty, as is obvious from the fol-
lowing abstract of the Act.
" No druggist, vender of or dealer in
" drugs, or chemist, or other person, shall
" sell or deliver to any licensed brewer,
" dealer in or retailer of beer, knowing him
* 56 Geo. III. c. 2.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 157
" to be such, or shall sell or deliver to any
" person on account of or in trust for any
* such brewer, dealer or retailer, any liquor
" called by the name of or sold as colouring,
" from whatever material the same may be
" made, or any material or preparation other
" than unground brown malt for darkening
" the colour of worts, or beer, or any liquor
" or preparation made use of for darkening
" the colour of worts or beer, or any mo-
" lasses, honey, vitriol, quassia, cocculus
" Indian, grains of paradise, Guinea pepper
" or opium, or any extract or preparation of
" molasses, or any article or preparation to
" be used in worts or beer for or as a sub-
" stitute for malt or hops ; and if any drug-
" gist shall offend in any of these particu-
" lars, such liquor preparation, molasses, &c.
" shall be forfeited and may be seized by
158 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
" any officer of Excise, and the person so
' offending shall for each offence forfeit
The following is a list of druggists and
grocers, prosecuted by the Court of Excise,
and convicted of supplying unlawful ingre-
dients to brewers.
Druggists and Grocers prosecuted and
convicted from 1812 to 1819, for sup-
plying illegal Ingredients to Brewers
for adulterating Seer*,
Messrs. Dunn and Co, druggists, for selling aduk
terating ingredients to brewers, verdict 500/.
Messrs. Rugg and others, druggists, for selling adul-
terating ingredients to brewers, verdict 500/.
* Copied from the Minutes of the Committee of the
House of Commons, appointed for examining the price
and quality of beer. See page 18, 29, 30, 31, 36, 43.
ADULTERATION OP BEER. 159
Messrs. Hodgkinson and others, for selling" adulterat-
ing ingredients to brewers, 1001. and costs.
Messrs. Hiscocks and others, for selling adulterating
ingredients to a brewer, 200/. and costs.
Mr. Hornby, for selling adulterating ingredients to
a brewer, 2001.
Mr. Wilson, for selling adulterating ingredients to a
Mr. Andrews, grocer, for selling adulterating ingre-
dients to a brewer, 25/. and costs.
Air. Knowles, for selling substitute for hops, costs.
Messrs. Kernot and Alsop, for selling cocculus india,
Messrs. Brandram and Co.* for selling various drugs,
Mr. Moss, for selling various drugs, 300/.
Mr. Whitcombe, Mr. Dunn, and Mr. Waller, drug-
gists, for having liquor for darkening the colour of beer,
hid and concealed.
Mr. Hebberd, for having liquor for darkening the
colour of beer, hid and concealed.
Mr. Whitcombe, Mr. Dunn, and Mr. Waller, drug-
gists, for making liquor for darkening the colour of
* Not Messrs. Brandram, of Size-lane, Cannon-st.
160 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
Mr. Lord, grocer, for selling molasses to a brewer,
20/. and costs.
Mr. Smith Carr, grocer, for selling molasses to a
brewer, 20/. and costs.
Mr. Fox, grocer, for selling molasses to a brewer,
%bL and costs.
Mr. Cooper, grocer, for selling molasses to a brewer,
40/. and costs.
Mr. Bickering, grocer, for selling molasses to a
brewer, 40/. and costs.
Mr. Howard, grocer, for selling molasses to a brewer,
2l. and costs.
Mr. Reynolds, grocer, for selling molasses to a
Mr. Hammond, grocer, for selling molasses to a
brewer, 20/. and costs.
Mr. Mackway, grocer, for selling molasses to a
Mr. Renton, grocer, for selling molasses to a brewer,
costs, and taking out a licence.
Mr. Adam son, grocer, for selling molasses to a
brewer, costs, and taking out a licence.
Mr. Weaver, for selling Spanish liquorice to a
Mr. Moss, for selling Spanish liquorice to a brewer.
Mr. Braden, for selling liquorice, 20/.
Mr, Draper, for selling molasses to a brewer, 20/.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 161
REMARKS ON PORTER.
THE method of brewing- porter has not
been the same at all times as it is at pre-
At first, the only essential difference in
the methods of brewing this liquor and that
of other kinds of beer, was, that porter was
brewed from brown malt only ; and this gave
to it both the colour and flavour required.
Of late years it has been brewed from mix-
tures of pale and brown malt.
These, at some establishments, are mashed
separately, and the worts from each are af-
terwards mixed together. The proportion of
pale and brown malt, used for brewing por-
ter, varies in different breweries ; some em-
ploy nearly two parts of pale malt and one
part of brown malt ; but each brewer ap-
162 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
pears to have his own proportion ; which the
intelligent manufacturer varies, according
to the nature and qualities of the malt.
Three pounds of hops are, upon an average,
allowed to every barrel (thirty-six gallons)
When the price of malt, on account of the
great increase in the price of barley during 1
the late war, was very high, the London
brewers discovered that a larger quantity of
wort of a given strength could be obtained
from pale malt than from brown malt. They
therefore increased the quantity of the
former, and diminished that of the latter.
This produced beer of a paler colour, and
of a less bitter flavour. To remedy these
disadvantages, they invented an artificial
colouring substance, prepared by boiling-
brown sugar till it acquired a very dark
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 163
brown colour ; a solution of which was em-
ployed to darken the colour of the beer.
Some brewers made use of the infusion of
malt instead of sugar colouring*. To impart
to the beer a bitter taste, the fraudulent
brewer employed quassia wood and worm-
wood as a substitute for hops.
But as the colouring of beer by means of
sugar became in many instances a pretext
for using illegal ingredients, the Legisla-
ture, apprehensive from the mischief that
might, and actually did, result from it,
passed an Act prohibiting the use of burnt
sugar in July 1817; and nothing but malt
and hops is now allowed to enter into the
composition of beer : even the use of isin-
glass for clarifying beer, is contrary to
164 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
No sooner had the beer-colouring Act
been repealed, than other persons obtained
a patent for effecting' the purpose of impart-
ing an artificial colour to porter, by means
of brown malt, specifically prepared for that
purpose only. The beer, coloured by the
new method, is more liable to become spoiled,
than when coloured by the process formerly
practised. The colouring malt does not
contain any saccharine matter. The grain
is by mere torrefaction converted into a
gum-like substance, wholly soluble in water,
which renders the beer more liable to pass
into the acetous fermentation than the com-
mon brown malt is capable of doing ; be-
cause the latter, if prepared from good bar-
ley, contains a portion of saccharine matter,
of which the patent malt is destitute.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 165
But as brown malt is generally prepared
from the worst kind of barley, and as the
patent malt can only be made from good
grain, it may become, on that account, an
useful article to the brewer (at least, it gives
colour and body to the beer) ; but it cannot
materially economise the quantity of malt
necessary to produce good porter. Some
brewers of eminence in this town have as-
sured me, that the vise of this mode of co-
louring beer is wholly unnecessary; and
that porter of the requisite colour may be
brewed better without it ; hence this kind of
malt is not used in their establishments.
The quantity of gum-like matter which it
contains, gives too much ferment to the
beer, and render it liable to spoil. Repeated
experiments, made on a large scale, have
settled this fact,
166 ADULTERATION OF BEEfc.
STRENGTH AND SPECIFIC DIFFERED CE&
OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF PORTER.
\ THE strength of all kinds of beer, like
that of wine, depends on the quantity of
spirit contained in a given bulk of the li-
The reader need scarcely be told, that of
no article there are more varities than of
porter. This, no doubt, arises from the dif-
ferent mode of manufacturing the beer, al-
though the ingredients are the same. This
difference is more striking in the porter
manufactured among country brewers, than
it is in the beer brewed by the eminent
London porter brewers. The totality of the
London porter exhibits but very slight dif-
ferences, both with respect to strength or the
quantity of spirit, and solid extractive mat-
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 167
ter, contained in a given bulk of it. The
spirit may be stated, upon an average, to be
4,50 per cent, in porter retailed at the pub-
licans : the solid matter is from twenty-one
to twenty-three pounds per barrel of thirty-
six gallons. The country-brewed porter is
seldom well fermented, and seldom con-
tains so large a quantity of spirit ; it usually
abounds in mucilage; hence it becomes
turbid when mixed with alcohol. Such
beer cannot keep, without becoming sour.
It has been matter of frequent complaint,
that ALL the porter now brewed, is not
what porter was formerly. This idea may
be true, with some exceptions. My profes-
sional occupations have, during these
twenty-eight years, repeatedly obliged
me to examine the strength of London por-
ter, brewed by different brewers ; and, from
the minutes made on that subject, I am au-
168 4^ULTERATION OF BEEU.
thorized to state, that the porter now brewed
by the eminent London brewers, is unques-
tionably stronger than that which was
brewed at different periods during the late
French war. Samples of brown stout with
which I have been obligingly favoured,
whilst writing this Treatise, by Messrs.
Barclay, Perkins,and Co. Messrs. Truman,
Hanbury, and Co. Messrs. Henry Meux
and Co. and other eminent brewers of this
capital afforded, upon an average, 725 per
cent. of alcohol, of 0,833 specific gravity;
and porter, from the same houses, yielded
upon an average 5,25 per cent, of alcohol,
of the same specific gravity*; this beer re-
* The average specific gravity of different samples
of brown stout, obtained direct from the breweries of
Messrs. Barcley, Perkins, and Co. Messrs. Truman,
Hanbury, and Co. Messrs. Henry Meux and Co. and
from several other eminent London brewers, amounted
to 1,022; and the average specific gravity of porter,
from the same breweries, 1,01 8.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 169
ceived from the brewers was taken from the
same store from which the publicans are
It is nevertheless singular to observe, that
from fifteen samples of beer of the same
denominations, procured from different re-
tailers, the proportions of spirit fell conside-
rably short of the above quantities. Sam-
ples of brown stout, procured from the
retailers, afforded, upon an average,* 6,50
per cent, of alcohol; and the average
strength of the porter was 4,50 per cent.
Whence can this difference between the
beer furnished by the brewer, and that re-
tailed by the publican, arise ? We shall
not be at a loss to answer this question, when
we find that so many retailers of porter have
been prosecuted and convicted for mixing
table beer with their strong beer ; this is
170 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
prohibited by law, as becomes obvious by
the following words of the Act*.
" If any common or other brewer, inn-
keeper, victualler, or retailer of beer or ale,
shall mix or suffer to be mixed any strong 1
beer, ale, or worts, with table beer, worts,
or water, in any tub or measure, he shall
forfeit 50." The difference between strong
and table beer, is thus settled by Parlia-
" All beer or ale f above the price of
eighteen shillings per barrel, exclusive of
ale duties now payable (viz. ten shillings
per barrel,) or that may be hereafter paya-
ble in respect thereof, shall be deemed
strong beer or ale ; and all beer of the price
* 2 Geo. III. c. 11, sec. 2. 1 59 Geo. III. c. 53, sec. 25.
ADULTERATION OF BKER. 171
of eighteen shillings the barrel or under,
exclusive of the duty payable (viz. two
shillings per barrel) in respect thereof, shall
be deemed table beer within the meaning
of this and all other Acts now in force, or that
may hereafter be passed in relation to beer
or ale or any duties thereon."
Publicans prosecuted and convicted from
1815 to 1818, for adulterating Beer with
illegal Ingredients, andfor mixing Table
Beer with their Strong Beer*.
Mr. Atterbury, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 401.
Mr. Dean, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses, &c.
and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 50/.
* Copied from the Minutes of the Committee of the
House of Commons, appointed for examining the price
and quality of beer, p. 19, 29, 36, 37, 43.
172 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
Mr. Jay, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses, &c.
and for mixing table beer with strong beer 50/.
Mr. Atkinson, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 201.
Mr. Langworth, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 50/.
Mrs. Spencer, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 1 50/.
Mr. Hogg, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses, &c.
and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 51.
Mr. Craddock, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing table beer with strong beer, 1001.
Mr. Harris, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses, &c.
and for receiving stale beer, and mixing it with strong
beer, 42/. and costs.
Mr. Scoons, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing stale beer with strong beer, verdict
Mr. Geer and another, for using salt of steel, salt,
molasses, &c. and for mixing strong and .table beer,
Mr. Coleman, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing strong and table beer, 33/. and costs.
Mr. Orr, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses, &c.
and for mixing strong and table beer, 50/.
Mr. Gardiner, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing strong and table beer, 10Q/.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 173
Mr. Morris, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing strong and table beer, 201.
Mr. Harbur, for using salt of steel, salt, molasses,
&c. and for mixing strong and table beer, 501.
Mr. Corrie, for mixing strong beer with table beer.
Mr. Cape, for mixing strong beer with table beer.
Mr. Gudge, for mixing strong beer with small beer.
FRAUDULENT PRACTICE OF ADULTE-
RATING BEER WITH SUBSTANCES
NOT DELETERIOUS TO HEALTH.
WE have stated already (p. 145) that no-
thing is allowed by law to enter into the
composition of beer, but malt and hops.
The substances used by fraudulent brew-
ers for adulterating beer, are chiefly the fol-
Quassia, which gives to beer a bitter taste,
is substituted for hops ; but hops possess a
174 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
more agreeable aromatic flavour, and there
is also reason to believe that they render
beer less liable to spoil by keeping ; a pro-
perty which does not belong to quassia. It
requires but little discrimination to distin-
guish very clearly the peculiar bitterness of
quassia in adulterated porter. Vast quan-
tities of the shavings of this wood are sold
in 3 half-torrefied and ground state to dis-
guise its obvious character, and to prevent
its being recognized among the waste mate-
rials of the brewers. Wormwood* has like-
wise been used by fraudulent brewers.
The adulterating of hops is prohibited by
the Legislature f.
* See Minutes of the Committee of the House of
Commons for Reporting on the Price and Quality of
1819. p. 29.
7 Geo. II. c. 19, sec. 2-
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 175
" If any person shall put any drug or in-
gredient whatever into hops to alter the
colour or scent thereof, every person so of-
fending, convicted by the oath of one wit-
ness before one justice of the peace for the
county or place where the offence was com-
mitted, shall forfeit 5 for every hundred
Beer rendered bitter by quassia never
keeps well, unless it be kept in a place pos-
sessing a temperature considerably lower
than the temperature of the surrounding at-
mosphere : and this is not well practicable
in large establishments.
The use of boiling the wort of beer with
hops, is partly to communicate a peculiar
aromatic flavour which the hop contains,
partly to cover the sweetness of undecom-
posed saccharine matter, and also to separate,
176 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
by virtue of the gallic acid and tannin it
contains, a portion of peculiar vegetable mu-
cilage somewhat resembling gluten, which
is still diffused through the beer. The com-
pound thus produced, separates in small flakes
like those of curdled soap ; and by these
means the beer is rendered less liable to spoiK
For nothing contributes more to the conver-
sion of beer, or any other vinous fluid, into
vinegar, than mucilage. Hence, also, all
full-bodied and clammy ales, abounding in
mucilage, and which are generally ill fer-
mented, do not keep as perfect ale ought to
do. Quassia is, therefore, unfit as a substi-
tute for hops ; and even English hops are
preferable to those imported from the Conti-
nent ; for nitrate of silver and acetate of lead
produce a more abundant precipitate from
an infusion of English hops, that can be oh-
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 177
tained from a like infusion by the same
agents from foreign hops.
One of the qualities of good porter, is,
that it should bear a fine frothy head, as it
is technically termed : because professed
judges of this beverage would not pro-
nounce the liquor excellent, although it
possessed all other good qualities of porter,
without this requisite.
To impart to porter this property of froth-
ing when poured from one vessel into ano-
ther, or to produce what is also termed a
cauliflower head, the mixture called beer-
heading, composed of common green vitriol
(sulphate of iron), alum, and salt, is added.
This addition to the beer is generally made
by the publicans*. It is unnecessary to ge-
* See List of Publicans prosecuted and convicted
for mixing table beer with strong beer, &c. p. 171.
" Alum gives likewise a smack of age to beer, and is
penetrating to the palate." S. Child,on Breiving,p.lS.
178 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
nuine beer, which of itself possesses the pro-
perty of bearing a strong white froth, witis-
out these additions ; and it is only in conse-
quence of table beer being mixed with strong
beer that the frothing property of the porter
is lost. From experiments I have tried on
this subject, I have reason to believe that the
sulphate of iron, added for that purpose,
does not possess the power ascribed to it.
But the publicans frequently, when they
fine a butt of beer, by means of isinglass,
adulterate the porter at the same time with
table beer, together with a quantity of mo-
lasses and a small portion of extract of gen-
tian root, to keep up the peculiar flavour of
the porter ; and it is to the molasses chiefly,
which gives a spissitude to the beer, that the
frothing property must be ascribed; for,
without it, the sulphate of iron does not pro-
duce the property of frothing in diluted beer.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 179
The following lines on the application of
Beer Heading, are copied from Morris's
Treatise on brewing Malt Liquors, p. 108.
Heading. " On this part of our subject it
may be necessary to observe, that here are
various modes of making it. Some make
use of ground copperas and ground alum,
in about equal proportions ; some resort to
salt of steel, of which as much as will lie
on a shilling is sufficient for a barrel of beer.
But, as the duties of a brewhouse sufficiently
employ every person engaged in it, I recom-
mend it to be purchased of those who make
it their business to have it ready prepared.
" Observe, that porter should not be sent
out without it, as it causes the head so
much admired in that liquor, and is agree-
able to its flavour."
Capsicum and grains of paradise, two
180 ADULTERATION OP BEER.
highly acrid substances, are employed to
give a pungent taste to weak insipid beer.
Of late, a concentrated tincture of these ar-
ticles, to be used for a similar purpose, and
possessing a powerful effect, has appeared
in the price-currents of brewers' druggists.
Ginger root, coriander seed, and orange
peels, are employed as flavouring substances
chiefly by the ale brewers.
From these statements, and the seizures
that have been made of illegal ingredients
at various breweries, it is obvious that the
adulterations of beer are not imaginary. It
will be noticed, however, that some of the
sophistications are comparatively harmless,
whilst others are effected by substances de-
leterious to health. The following list exhi-
bits some of the unlawful substances seized
at different breweries and at chemical labo-
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 181
Illegal Ingredients, seized from 1812 to
1818, at various Breweries and Brewers 9
1812, July. Mr. Nibbs.
Cocculus indicus 12
Colouring 4 Galls.
Honey 180 Ibs.
Hartshorn Shavings... 14
Spanish Juice 46
Orange Powder 17
1813, June 13. Mrs. Willis.
Cocculus indicus lib.
Spanish Juice 12
Hartshorn Shavings... 6
Orange Powder 1
* Copied from the Minutes of the Committee of the
House of Commons, appointed for examining the price
and! quality of beer, p. 38.
182 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
August 3. Mr. Whiffing.
Grains of Paradise ... 441 b .
Caraway Seeds 40
Orange Powder 14
Nov. 25. Mrs. Hasler.
Cocculus indicus 12lbs.
Grains of Paradise ... 12
Spanish Juice 30
Orange Powder 3
Dec. 14. Mr. Abbott.
Copperas, &c 14lbs.
Orange Powder ..... 2
Penalty 500. and Crown's costs.
Proof of using drugs at various times.
ADULTERATION OF BEER.
1815, Feb. 15. Messrs. Mantell and Cook.
Proof of mixing strong beer with table beer, and
using colouring with other things.
Compromised for 300.
1817. From Mr. Stevenson, an old Servant to Dunn
and Waller, brewers' druggists.
Cocculus indicus Extract 6lbs.
Capsicum >... 88
Colouring & Drugs 84
Mixed Drugs 240
Spanish Liquorice ... 420
Hartshorn Shavings... 77
Liquorice Powder ... 177
Orange Powder 126
Caraway Seeds 100
Ginger , 110
Ginger Root 176
Condemned, not being claimed.
184 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
July 30. Mr. Lyons.
Liquorice Root Powder 2
Coriander Seed 2
Orange Powder 8
Spanish Liquorice \
Beer C olouring 24 galls.
Not tried (7th May, 1818.)
Aug. 6. Mr. Gray.
Spanish Liquorice 21
Liquorice Root Powder 113
Honey , 11
Penalty, ^300, and costs ; including mixing strong
beer with table, and paying table-beer duty for strong
Numerous other seizures of illegal sub-
stances, made at breweries, might be ad-
vanced, were it necessary to enlarge this
subject to a greater extent.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 185
ADULTERATION OF STRONG BEER
WITH SMALL BEER.
ANOTHER fraud frequently committed,
both by brewers and publicans, (as is evi-
dent from the Excise Report,) is the prac-
tice of adulterating strong beer with small
beer. This fraud is prohibited by law ;
since both the revenue and the public suffer
by it*, "The duty upon strong beer is tea
shillings a barrel ; and upon table beer it
is two shillings. The revenue suffers, be-
cause a larger quantity of beer is sold as
* See Mr. Marr's evidence in the Minutes of the
House of Commons, p. 32.
186 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
strong beer ; that is, at a price exceeding
the price of table beer, without the strong
beer duty being paid. In the next place,
the brewer suffers, because the retailer gets
table or mild beer, and retails it as strong
beer." The following are the words of the
Act, prohibiting the brewers mixing table
beer with strong beer :
" If any common brewer shall mix or suf-
fer to be mixed any strong beer, or strong*
worts with table beer or table worts, or
with water in any guile or fermenting
tun after the declaration of the quantity of
such guile shall have been made ; or if he
shall at any time mix or suffer to be mixed
strong beer or strong worts with table beer
worts or with water, in any vat, cask, tub,
measures or utensil, not being an entered
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 187
guile or fermented tun, he shall forfeit
With respect to the persons who commit
this offence, Mr. Carr*, the Solicitor of the
Excise, observes, that " they are generally
brewers who carry on the double trade of
brewing both strong and table beer. It is
almost impossible to prevent them from
mixing one with the other ; and frauds of
very great extent have been detected, and
the parties punished for that offence. One
brewer at Plymouth evaded duties to the
amount of 32,000/ ; and other brewers, who
brew party guiles of beer carrying on the two
trades of ale and table beer brewers, where
* 42 George III, c. 38, section 12.
t See Minutes of the House of Commons, p. 32.
188 ADULTERATION OF BEER*
the trade is a victualling brewer, which is
different from the common brewer, he being
a person who sells only wholesale ; the vic-
tualling brewer being a brewer and also a
seller by retail.
" In the neighbourhood of London," Mr.
Carr continues," more particularly, I speak
from having had great experience, from the
informations and evidence which I have re-
ceived, that the retailers carry on a most
extensive fraud upon the public, in pur-
chasing stale table beer, or the bottoms of
casks. There are a class of men who go
about and sell such beer at table-beer
price to public victuallers, who mix it in
their cellars. If they receive beer from
their brewers which is mild, they purchase
stale beer; and if they receive stale beer,
they purchase common table beer for that
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 189
purpose; and many of the prosecutions are
against retailers for that offence." The fol-
lowing may serve in proof of this state-
Brewers prosecuted and convicted from
1813 to 1819, for adulterating Strong
Beer with Table Beer*.
Mr. Manton and another, brewers, for mixing strong
and table beer, verdict 300/.
Mr. Morrell and another, brewers., for mixing strong
and table beer, 20/. and costs.
Mr. Jones and another, brewers, for mixing strong
and table beer, verdict 125/.
Mr. Stroad, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, 200/. and costs.
Mr. Cobbett, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, 100?. and costs.
Mr. Withers, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, 7o/. and costs.
* Copied from the Minutes of the Committee of the
House of Commons, appointed for examining the price
and quality of Beer, 1819, p. 29, 36, 43.
190 ADULTERATION OF BEER*
Mr. Cowel, brewer, for mixing table beer with
strong 1 , 50/. and costs.
Mr. Mitchell, brewer, for mixing table beer with
Messrs. Lloyd and another, brewers, for mixing
table beer with strong, 25/. and costs.
Messrs. Edmunds and another, brewers,? for mixing
table beer with strong, for a long period, verdict 600Z.
Mr. Hoffman, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, and using molasses, 130/. and costs.
Mr. Langworth, brewer, for mixing strong with
stale table beer, 10/. and costs.
Mrs. Spencer, brewer, for mixing strong with stale
table beer, verdict 150/.
Messrs. Smith and others, brewers, for mixing strong
and table beer.
Mr. George, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, verdict 200/.
Mr. Row, brewer, for mixing strong and table
beer, verdict 400/.
Messrs. Drew, jun. and another, for mixing strong
beer with table, 50/. and costs.
Mr. Cape, brewer, for mixing strong and table beer,
250Z. and costs.
Messrs. Williams and another, brewers, for mixing
strong and table beer, verdict 200/.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 191
REMARKS WITH REGARD TO THE ORI-
GIN OF THE BEER CALLED PORTER.
IT is necessary to state, that every pub-
lican has two sorts of beer sent to him from
the brewer ; the one is called mild, which
is beer sent out fresh as it is brewed ;
the other is called old ; that is, such as is
brewed on purpose for keeping, and which
has been kept in store a twelve-month or
eighteen months. The origin of the beer
called entire, is thus related by the editor
of the Picture of London: "Before the
year 1730, the malt liquors in general use
in London were ale beer and two-penny;
and it was customary to call for a pint, or
tankard, of half-and-half, i. e. half of ale
and half of beer, half of ale and half of
192 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
t\vo-penny. In course of time it also be-
came the practice to call for a pint or tankard
of three-threads, meaning a third of ale,
beer, and two-penny ; and thus the publican
had the trouble to go to three casks, and
turn three cocks, for a pint of liquor. To
avoid this inconvenience and waste, a brewer
the name of Harwood conceived the idea
of making a liquor, which should partake
of the same united flavours of ale, beer, and
two-penny ; he did so, and succeeded, call-
ing it entire, OY entire butt, meaning that it
was drawn entirely from one cask or butt ;
and as it was a very hearty and nourishing*
liquor, and supposed to be very suitable for
porters and other working people, it obtained
the name of porter*" The system is now
altered, and porter is very generally com-
pounded of two kinds, or rather the same
ADVLTERATIOH OF BEER. 193
liquor in two different states, the due ad-
mixture of which is palatable, though nei-
ther is good alone. One is mild porter, and
the other stale porter ; the former is that
which has a slightly bitter flavour; the latter
has been kept longer. This mixture the
publican adapts to the palates of his several
customers, and effects the mixture very
readily, by means of a machine, containing
small pumps worked by handles. In these
are four pumps, but only three spouts, be-
cause two of the pumps throw out at the
same spout : one of these two pumps draws
the mild, and the other the stale porter, from
the casks down in the cellar ; and the pub-
lican, by dexterously changing his hold
works either pump, and draws both kinds of
beer at the same spout. An indifferent ob-
server supposes, that since it all comes from
194 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
one spout, it is entire butt beer, as the pub-
lican professes over his door, and which has
been decided by vulgar prejudice to be
only good porter, though the difference
is not easily distinguished. I have been
informed by several eminent brewers, that,
of late, a far greater quantity is consumed
of mild than of stale beer.
COPMOSITION OF OLD OR ENTIRE
THE entire beer of the modern brewer, ac-
cording to the statement of C. Barclay*,
Esq. consists of some beer brewed ex-
pressly for the purpose of keeping : it like-
wise contains a portion of returns from pub-
* See the Parliamentary Minutes* p. 94>.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 195
I leans ; a portion of beer from the bottoms
of vats ; the beer that is drawn of from the
pipes, which convey the beer from one vat
to another, and from one part of the pre-
mises to another. This beer is collected
and put into vats. Mr. Barclay also states
that it contains a certain portion of brown
stout, which is twenty shillings a barrel
dearer than common beer ; and some bot-
tling beer which is ten shillings a barrel
dearer* ; and that all these beers, united,
are put into vats, and that it depends upon
various circumstances, how long they may
remain in those vats before they become per-
fectly bright. When bright, this beer ig
* Mr. Barclay has not specified the relative propor-
tions of brown stout and of bottling beer, which are
introduced at such an augmentation of expence.
196 ADULTERATION OF BEER*
sent out to the publicans, for their entire
beer, and there is sometimes a small quan-
tity of mild beer mixed with it."
The present entire beer, therefore, is a
very heterogeneous mixture, composed of
all the waste and spoiled beer of the pub*
licans the bottoms of butts the leavings
of the pots the drippings of the machines
for drawing the beer the remnants of beer
that lay in the leaden pipes of the brewery,
with a portion of brown stout, bottling beer,
and mild beer.
FRAUDULENT PRACTICE OF CONVERT-
ING NEW BEER INTO OLD OR EN-
THE old or entire beer we have examined,
as obtained from Messrs. Barclay's, and
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 197
other eminent London brewers, is unques-
tionably a good compound ; but it does no
longer appear to be necessary, among frau-
dulent brewers, to brew beer on purpose
for keeping, or to keep it twelve or eighteen
months. A more easy, expeditious, and
economical method has been discovered to
convert any sort of beer into entire beer,
merely by the admixture of a portion of
sulphuric acid. An imitation of the age of
eighteen months is thus produced in an in-
stant. This process is technically called to
bring beer forward, or to make it hard.
The practice is a bad one. The genuine,
old, or entire beer, of the honest brewer, is
quite a different compound ; it has a rich,
generous, fullrbodied taste, without being
acid, and a vinous odour: but it may, per-
haps, not be generally known that this kind
198 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
of beer always affords a less proportion of
alcohol than is produced from mild beer.
The practice of bringing beer forward, it
is to be understood, is resorted to only by
If, on the contrary, the brewer has too
large a stock of old beer on his hands,
recourse is had to an opposite practice
of converting stale, half-spoiled, or sour
beer, into mild beer, by the simple ad>-
mixture of an alkali, or an alkaline earth.
Oyster-shell powder and subcarbonate of
potash, or soda, are usually employed for
that purpose. These substances neutralise
the excess of acid, and render sour beer
somewhat palatable. By this process the
beer becomes very liable to spoil.
* Mr. Child, in Ms Treatise on Brewing, p. 23,
directs, to make neiv faer older, use oil of vitriol.
ADULTERATION OF BEER, 199
It is the worst expedient that the brewer
can practise : the beer thus rendered mild,
soon loses its vinous taste; it becomes va-
pid; and speedily assumes a muddy grey
colour, and an exceedingly disagreeable
These sophistications may be considered,
at first, as minor crimes practised by fraudu-
lent brewers, when compared with the me-
thods employed by them for rendering beer
noxious to health by substances absolutely
FRAUDULENT PRACTICE OF INCREAS-
ING THE INTOXICATING QUALITY
To increase the intoxicating quality of
beer, the deleterious vegetable substance,
200 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
called cocculus indicus, and the extract of
thifc poisonous berry, technically called
black extract, or, by some, hard multum,
are employed. Opium, tobacco, nux vomica,
and extract of poppies, have also been
This fraud constitutes by far the most
censurable offence committed by unprinci-
pled brewers; and it is a lamentable re-
flection to behold so great a number of
brewers prosecufed and convicted of this
crime ; nor is it less deplorable to find the
names of drug-gists, eminent in trade, im-
plicated in the fraud, by selling the unlaw-
ful ingredients to brewers for fraudulent
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 201
prosecuted and convicted from
1813 to 1819,. ybr receiving and using
illegal Ingredients in their Brewings*.
Mr. Gardner, brewer, for using adulterating ingre-
dients, 100/., judgment by default.
Messrs. Webb and another, brewers, for using
adulterating ingredients, and mixing strong and table
beer, verdict 500^.
Mr. Wyatt, brewer, . for using adulterating ingre-
dients, verdict 40 O/.
Mr. Harbart, retailer, for receiving adulterating
ingredients, verdict 150/.
Messrs. Blake and others, brewers, for using adul-
terating ingredients, and mixing strong and table beer,
Mr. Sneed, for receiving adulterating ingredients,
25/. and costs.
Messrs. Rewell and another, brewers, ditto, verdict
* Copied from the Minutes of the Committee of the
House of Commons appointed for examining the price
and quality of beer, p. 29, 36.
202 ADULTERATION OP BEER.
Messrs. Swain and another, brewers, for using adul-
terating ingredients, verdict 200/.
Mr. Ing, brewer, ditto, stayed on defendant's death.
Mr. Hall, ditto, for receiving adulterating ingre-
dients^ 5/. and costs.
Mr. Webb, retailer, for vising adulterating ingre-
Messrs. Fogg and another, brewers, for receiving
and using adulterating ingredients.
Mr. Gray, brewer, for using adulterating ingre-
dients, 300/. and costs.
Mr. Bowman, for using liquid in bladder, supposed
to be extract of cocculus, 100/.
Mr. Bowman, brewer, for ditto, 100Z. and costs.
Mr. Stephens, brewer, for ditto, verdict 50/.
Messrs. Rogers and another, brewers, for ditto, 220 /,
Mr. Moore, brewer, for using colouring, 300/. and
Mr. Morris, for using adulterating ingredients.
Messrs. Webb and Ball, for using ginger, Guinea
pepper, and brown powder (name unknown), 1st.
100/. 2nd. 500/.
Mr. Clarke, for using molasses, 150Z.
Messrs. Kewell and Burrows, for using cocculus
india, multum, &c. 100/.
Messrs. Allatson and Abraham, for using eocculus
india, multum, and porter flavour, 630/.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 203
Messrs. Swain and Sewell, for using cocculus india,
Guinea opium. &c. 200/.
Mr. Ing, for using cocculus india, hard colouring,
and honey, dead.
Mr. Dean, for using molasses, 50/.
Mr. Cowell, for using Spanish liquorice, and mixing
table beer *vith strong beer, 50/^
Mr. Mitchell, for using cocculus india, vitriol, and
Guinea pepper, left the country.
Messrs. Lloyd and Man, for using extract of coc-
Mr. Gray, for using ginger, hartshorn shavings,
and molasses, 300/.
Mr. Hoffman, for using molasses, Spanish juice,
and mixing table with strong beer, ISO/.
Messrs. Rogers and Boon, for using extract of coc-
culus, multum, porter flavour, &c. 220/.
Mr. Betteley, for using wormwood, coriander seed,
and Spanish juice, 200/.
Mr. Lane, brewer, for using wormwood instead of
hops, 5/. and costs.
That a minute portion of an unwholesome
ingredient, daily taken in beer, cannot fail
to be productive of mischief, admits of no
doubt ; and there is reason to believe that
204 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
a small quantity of a narcotic substance (and
cocculus indicus is a powerful narcotic*),
daily taken into the stomach, together with
an intoxicating liquor, is highly more effi-
cacious than it would be without the liquor.
The effect may be gradual; and a strong
constitution, especially if it be assisted with
constant and hard labour, may counteract
the destructive consequences perhaps for
many years ; but it never fails to shew its
baneful effects at last. Independent of this,
it is a well-established fact, that porter
drinkers are very liable to apoplexy and
palsy, without taking this narcotic poison.
* The deleterious effect of Cocculus Indicus (the
fruit of the memispermum cocculus} is owing to a pe-
culiar bitter principle contained in it; which, when,
swallowed in minute quantities, intoxicates and acts as
poison. It may be obtained from cocculus indicus ber-
ries in a detached state : chemists call it picrotoxin^
from 7r*x/?ofc bitter ; and TO&KOV, poison.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 205
If we judge from the preceding lists of
prosecutions and convictions furnished by
the Solicitor of the Excise*, it will be evident
that many wholesale brewers, as well as
retail dealers, stand very conspicuous among
those offenders. But the reader will like-
wise notice, that there are no convictions,
in any instance, against either of the eleven
great London porter brewersf for any illegal
It has been asserted, that it is more dif-
ficult J for the officers of the Excise to detect
* See Minutes of the House of Commons, p. 28, 36.
t Messrs. Barclay, Perkins, and Co. Truman, Han-
bury and Co. Reid arid Co. Whitbread and Co.
Combe, Delafield, and Co. Henry Meux and Co.
Calvert and Co. Goodwin and Co. Elliot and Co.-<-
Taylor and Co. Cox, and Camble and Co.
See the Minutes, before quoted, p. 32*
t Ibid. p. 22.
206 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
fraudulent practices in large breweries than
in small ones; this may be true to a certain
extent: but what eminent London porter
brewer would stake his reputation on the
chance of so paltry a gain, in which he
would inevitably be at the mercy of his own
man? The eleven great brewers of this
metropolis are persons of such high respecta-
bility, that there is no ground for the slight-
est suspicion that they would attempt any
illegal practices, which they were aware
could not possibly escape detection in their
extensive establishments. And let it be
remembered, that none of them have been
detected in any unlawful practice* in the
processes of their manufacture, or in the
adulteration of their beer.
* Minutes of the House of Commons, p. 32.
ADULTERATION OF BEER, 207
METHOD OF DETECTING THE ADUL-
TERATION OF BEER.
THE detection of the adulteration of beer
with deleterious vegetable substances is
beyond the reach of chemical analysis.
The presence of sulphate of iron may
be detected by evaporating the beer to
perfect dryness, and burning away the ve-
getable matter obtained, by the action of
chlorate of potash, in a red-hot crucible.
The sulphate of iron will be left behind
among the residue in the crucible, which,
when dissolved in water, may be assayed,
for the constituent parts of the salt, namely,
iron and sulphuric acid : for the former, by
tincture of galls, ammonia, and prussiate of
208 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
potash ; and for the latter, by muriate of
Beer, which has been rendered fraudu-
lently hard or stale, by the admixture of
sulphuric acid, affords a white precipitate
(sulphate of barytes), by dropping into it a
solution of acetate or muriate of barytes;
and this precipitate, when collected by fil-
tering the mass, and after having been dried,
and heated red-hot for a few minutes in a
platina crucible, does not disappear by the
addition of nitric or muriatic acid. Ge-
nuine old beer may produce a precipitate ;
but the precipitate which it affords, after
having been made red-hot in a platina cru-
cible, instantly becomes re-dissolved with
* See a Treatise on the Use and Application of Che-
mical Tests, 3d edition ; Tests for Sulphuric Acid^ &c<.
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 209
effervescence by pouring on it some pure
nitric or muriatic acid ; in that case the pre-
cipitate is malate (not sulphate) ofbarytes,
and is owing to a portion of malic acid
having been formed in the beer.
But with regard to the vegetable mate-
rials deleterious to health, it is extremely
difficult, in any instance, to detect them by
chemical agencies ; and in most cases it is
quite impossible, as in that of coeculus in-
dicus in beer.
METHOD OF ASCERTAINING THE QUAN-
TITY OF SPIRIT CONTAINED IN
PORTER, ALE, OP^ OTHER KINDS OF
TAKE any quantity of the beer, put it into
a glass retort, furnished with a receiver,
210 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
and distil, with a gentle heat, as long as any
spirit passes over into the receiver ; which
may be known by heating from time to time
a small quantity of the obtained fluid in a
tea-spoon over a candle, and bringing into
contact with the vapour of it, the flame of
a piece of paper. If the vapour of the dis-
tilled fluid catches fire, the distillation must
be continued until the vapour ceases to be
set on fire by the contact of a flaming body*
To the distilled liquid thus obtained, which
is the spirit of the beer, combined with
water, add, in small quantities at a time,
pure subcarbonate of potash (previously
freed from water by having been exposed
to a red heat), till the last portion of this salt
added, remahis iiddissolved in the fluid.
The spirit will thus become separated from
the water, because the subcarbonate of pot-
ADULTERATION OF BEER. 211
ash abstracts from it the whole of the water
which it contained; and this combination
sinks to the bottom, and the spirit alone
floats on the top. If this experiment be
made in a glass tube, about half or three-
quarters of an inch in diameter, and gra-
duated into 50 or 100 equal parts, the rela-
tive per centage of spirit in a given quantity
of beer may be seen by mere inspection.
Quantity of Alcohol contained in Porter,
Ale, and other kinds of Malt Liquors*.
One hundred parts, by Measure, Parts of Alcohol^ 'by
Ale, home-brewed 8,30
Ale, Burton, three samples -. 6,25
* Repository of Arts, No. 2, p. 74. 1316.
212 ADULTERATION OF BEER.
One hundred parts, by Measure, Parts of Alcohol,
contained by Measure.
Ale, Burton* 8,88
i Ale, Edinburgh* 6,20
Ale, Dorchester* , 5,50
Ale, common London-brewed^ six samples.... 5,82
Ale, Scotch, three samples ..... ....5,75
Porter, London, eight samples 4,00
Ditto, Dittot 4,20
Ditto, Dittot 4,45
Ditto, Ditto, bottled V&
Brown Stout, 4 samples.... 5
Ditto, Dittot 6,80
Small Beer, six samples 0,75
Ditto, DittoJ 1,28
* Copied from Professor Branded Paper in the Phi-
losophical Transactions, 1811, p. 345.
t Result of our own Experiments, see p. 16D,
$ Professor Brande's Experiments.
f CHINA and PORTO, now farewell;
** Let others buy what you've to sell.
" Your Port, and your Bohea ;
" For we've our native Sloe divine,
" Whose fruit yields all our Porto Wine,
" Whose leaves make all our Tea."
Literary Journal, vol. i. p. 14?.
THE heavy duties payable to Government
upon tea, hold out a strong- temptation to
those who scruple not to enrich themselves
by fraud, although at the expence of the
health, and even the lives of the community.
The application of leaves poisonous to
health for the purpose of imitating tea, is not
214 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
a new invention, detected for the first time
within these few years : as is obvious from
the Acts of Parliament passed at differ-
ent periods to prevent and punish the of-
fence. The first legislative enactment on
the subject is in 2d. Geo. I. cap. 30, sec. 4,
whereby it is declared " That the dealer in
tea, or manufacturer or dyer thereof, who
shall counterfeit or adulterate tea, or shall
alter, fabricate, or manufacture it with terra
japonic a, or with any other drug or drugs
whatsoever, or shall mix with tea any leaves
other than leaves of tea, or other ingredients
whatsoever, shall forfeit the sum of one
The 4th Geo. II. cap. 14, sec. 11, recites,
" That several persons do frequently dye,
fabricate, or manufacture very great quanti-
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 215
ties of sloe-leaves, and the leaves of tea that
have been before used, or the leaves of other
trees, shrubs, or plants, in imitation of tea,
and do likewise mix, colour, stain, and dye
such leaves with terra japonica, logwood,
and other ingredients, and do sell and vend
the same as true and real tea, to the preju-
dice of the health of his Majesty's subjects,
the diminution of the revenue, and to the
ruin of the fair trader." The Act then de-
clares, that the dealer in or seller of such
" sophisticated" teas, shall forfeit the sum
of ten pounds for every pound weight.
The latest statute on this subject is 17th
Geo. III. cap. 29, which states, that this
trade had increased to a very great degree,
and by the same Act, the seller or manufac-
turer of such tea is to forfeit five pounds
per pound weight of tea; or, upon non pay-
216 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
ment of that sum, be committed to prison
for any time not exceeding twelve months;
and, if the party so selling is a tea-dealer,
he is subject to the provisions of the Act
of Geo. II. and the penalty is ten pounds
sterling, per pound weight.
The extent to which this most iniquitous
traffic has been carried, appears to have
been as great formerly as now, and there-
fore it is necessary for the public to be al-
ways on their guard, and not to suppose that
the late convictions will deter others from
continuing the practice. In 1778 there was
a printed circular, signed by the headsman
and secretary of a company of grocers in
Norwich, stating, that they had been shown
a small quantity of green tea, one-fourth
part of which was avowedly sloe-leaves,
yet so well manufactured as almost to pre-
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 217
vent detection ; and there is another coun-
terfeit of hyson tea, which is a strong decep-
tion. So much for the closeness of the imi-
Of the extent to which this illicit traffic of
defrauding the revenue was carried, we have
very satisfactory evidence. In a report of
the Committee of the House of Commons,
dated December 24, 1783, wherein it is
stated, that " the quantity of fictitious tea,
which is annually manufactured from sloe
and ash-tree leaves, in different parts of
England, to be mixed with genuine teas, is
computed at more than FOUR MILLIONS
OF POUNDS:" and this too at a time when
the whole quantity of genuine teas sold by
the East India Company did not amount to
more than six millions of pounds annually.
In Scotland, and in Ireland, the fraud of
218 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
counterfeiting tea* has been carried on to an
equal extent, and with greater ingenuity ; in
the latter country, the penalties imposed for
this offence, have, during a few months,
amounted to more than 15,000 !
In the defence set up by some fraudulent
grocers convicted of adulterating tea, it is
stated that the spurious leaves made use of
were perfectly harmless ; and that they were
only mixed with tea to cheapen it to the
lower classes of the community, who could
not afford to pay the high price at which
genuine tea was sold. But sloe-leaves are
rendered poisonous by the process they un-
dergo in being manufactured as a substitute
for tea. We have the authority of the most
eminent botanist of his day, to prove this
* The History of the Tea Plant, p. 4,9.
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 219
statement. The following is from the twelfth
volume of English Botany, page 842; by
Sir James Smith, M.D. President of the
" The recent fruit of the sloe* is one of
the many articles used to adulterate Port
wine in England. The dried leaves are said
to be a substitute for tea ; and are, perhaps,
often mixed with it in this country. They
may be one cause of its proving sometimes
pernicious ; for the green parts of the plumf
and cherry tribe are highly poisonous ; and
it is fortunate if they act merely as a purga-
* Prunos Spinosa, sloe or blackthorn,
t The genus, Primus, or plum, includes the sloe,
plum, cherry, peach, bay, laurel, &c.
220 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
It is not to be expected that the recent
convictions will suppress a crime which has
existed for a century, and to the committal
of which the temptation is stronger than
ever; while the duties remain unrepealed,
the opinion may be fairly hazarded, that im-
position will still continue to be practised
on the public. This opinion must be
strengthened when it is stated that a profit
of from 300 to 600 per cent, can be ob-
tained by this species of fraud ; and though
some of our punishments are represented to
be too severe, yet there are many more
much too mild, and wholly inadequate to
the purpose of deterring offenders from a
repetition of the crime. It is probable, that
not a single individual, of those lately fined,
will desist from his nefarious practices ; the
profits of which have long since enabled him
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 221
to meet the trivial loss which attends a
conviction, and will speedily reimburse
him the penalty in which he has been
The late detections that have been made
respecting the illicit establishments for the
manufacture of imitation tea leaves, arrested,
not long ago, the attention of the public ;
and the parties by whom these manufacto-
ries were conducted, together with the nu-
merous venders of the factitious tea, did not
escape the hand of justice. In proof of this
statement, it is only necessary to consult the
London newspapers (the Times and Courier)
from March to July 1818; which show to
what extent this nefarious traffic has been
carried on in this metropolis ; and they re-
port the prosecutions and convictions of
numerous individuals who have been guilty
222 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
of the fraud. The following are some of
those prosecutions and convictions.
HATTON GARDEN*. On Saturday an in-
formation came to be heard at this office,
before Thomas Leach, Esq. the sitting- ma-
gistrate, against Edmund Rhodes, charged
with having, on the 12th of August last,
dyed, fabricated, and manufactured, divers
large quantities, viz. one hundred weight of
sloe leaves, one hundred weight of ash
leaves, oiie hundred weight of elder leaves,
and one hundred weight of the leaves of a
certain other tree, in imitation of tea, con-
trary to the statute of the 17th of Geo. Ill,
also, 2 Geo. I. c. 30, sec. 5 ; and 4 Geo. II.
c. 14, sec. 11. whereby the said Edmund
Rhodes had, for every pound of such leaves
so manufactured, forfeited the sum of 5/.
* Courier, Jime 22, 1818,
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 223
making the total of the penalties amount to
2,0007. The second count in the informa-
tion charged the said Rhodes with having
in his possession the above quantity of leaves,
under the like penalty of 2,000/. The third
count charged him with having, on the said
12th of August last, in his possession, divers
quantities, exceeding six pounds weight; of
each respective kind of leaves ; viz. fifty
pounds weight of green sloe leaves, fifty
pounds weight of green leaves of ash, fifty
pounds weight of green leaves of elder, and
fifty pounds weight of the green leaves of a
certain other tree ; not having proved that
such leaves were gathered with the consent
of the owners of the trees and shrubs from
which they were taken, and that such leaves
were gathered for some other use, and not
for the purpose of manufacturing the same
224 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
in imitation of tea; whereby he had forfeited
for each pound weight, the sum of 5/.
amounting in the whole to 1,000/,; and, in
default of payment, in each case, subjected
himself to be committed to the House of
Correction for not more than twelve months,
nor less than six months*
Mr. Denton, who appeared for the defen-
dant, who was absent, said, that he was a
very poor man, with a family of five chil-
dren, and was only the servant of the real
manufacturer, and an ignorant man from the
country, put into the premises to carry on
the business, without knowing what the
leaves were intended for. By direction of
Mr. Mayo, who conducted the prosecution,
several barrels and bags, filled with the imi-
tation tea, were then brought into the office,
and a sample from each handed round. To
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 225
the eye they seemed a good imitation of
The defendant was convicted in the pe-
nalty of 500 on the second count.
The Attorney-General against Palmer.
(The Times, May 18, 1818.) This was an
action by the Attorney-General against the
defendant Palmer, charging him with hav-
ing in his possession a quantity of sloe-
leaves and white-thorn leaves, fabricated into
an imitation of tea.
Mr. Dauncey stated the case to the Jury,
and observed that the defendant, Mr. Palmer,
was a grocer. It would-appear that a regu-
lar manufactory was established in Gold-
stone-street. The parties by whom the
manufactory was conducted, was a person
of the name of Proctor, and another person
named J. Malins. They engaged others to
226 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
furnish them with leaves. The leaves, in
order to be converted into an article resem-
bling black tea, were first boiled, then
baked upon an iron plate; and, when dry,
rubbed with the hand, to produce that curl
which the genuine tea had : the colour, which
was yet to be given to it, was produced by
logwood. The green tea was manufactured
in a manner more destructive to the consti-
tution of those by whom it was drank. The
leaves, being pressed and dried, were laid
upon sheets of copper, where they received
their colour from an article known by the
name of Dutch pink. The article used in
producing the appearance of the fine green
bloom, observable on the China tea, was,
however, decidedly a dead poison ! He al-
luded to verdigrise, which was added to
complete the operation. This was the case
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 227
which he had to bring before the jury; and
hence it would appear, that, at the moment
they were supposing they were drinking a
pleasant and nutritious beverage, they were,
in fact, in all probability, drinking the pro*
duce of the hedges round the metropolis,
prepared for the purposes of deception in the
most noxious manner.
T. Jones deposed, that he knew Proctor,
and was employed by him at the latter end
of April, 1817, to gather black and white
thorn leaves. Sloe leaves were the black
thorn. Witness also knew John Malins, the
son of William Malins, a coffee-roaster; he
did not at first know the purpose for which
the leaves were gathered, but afterwards
learnt they were to make imitation tea.
Witness did not gather more than one hun-
dred and a half weight of these leaves ; but
228 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
he employed another person, of the name of
Bagster, to gather them. He had two-
pence per pound for them. They were first
boiled, and the water squeezed from them
in a press. They were afterwards placed
over a slow fire upon sheets of copper to
dry ; while on the copper they were rubbed
with the hand to curl them. At the time of
boiling there was a little verdiyrise put into
the water (this applied to green tea only).
After the leaves were dried, they were
sifted, to separate the thorns and stalks.
More verdigrise and some Dutch pink were
then added . The verdigrise gave the leaves
that green bloom observable on genuine
The black tea went through a similar
course as the green, except the application
of Dutch pink: a little verdigrise was put in
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 229
the boiling-, and to this was added a small
quantity of logwood to dye it, and thus the
manufacture was complete.
John Bagster proved that he had been
employed by Malins and Proctor to gather
sloe and white-thorn leaves : they were taken
to Jones's house, and from thence to Malin's
coffee-roasting premises* witness received
two-pence per pound for them; he saw the
manufacturing going on, but did not know
much about it: witness saw the leaves on
sheets of copper, in Goldstone-street.
This was the case for the Crown. Ver-
dict for the Crown, 840.
230 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
List of Grocers prosecuted and convicted in
the year 1818, for adulterating Tea.
Mr. Rhodes the defendant was convicted in
the penalty of 600.
Mr. Palmer the defendant was convicted in
the penalty of 840.
Mr. Prentice the defendant submitted to a
verdict for the Crown.
Mr. Holmes the defendant submitted to a
verdict for the Crown.
Mr. Orkney verdict for the Crown.
Mr. Grey verdict for the Crown Penalties
Messrs. Gilbert and Powel verdict for the
Crown Penalties 140.
Mr. Clarke verdict for the Crown.
Mr. Horner verdict for the Crown Penal-
Mr. Dowling verdict for the Crown. Penal-
Mr. Bellis verdict for the Crown Penalties
METHOD OF DETECTING THE ADUL-
TERATIONS OF TEA.
THE adulterations of tea may be evinced
by comparing the botanical characters of the
leaves of the two respective trees, arid by
submitting- them to the action of a few che-
The shape of the tea-Jeaf is slender and
narrow, as shown in this sketch, the edges
arc deeply serrated, and the end or extre-
mity is acutely pointed. The texture of the
232 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
leaf is very delicate, its surface smooth and
glossy, and its colour is a lively pale green.
The sloe-leaf (and also the white-thorn
leaf,) as shewn in this sketch, is more
rounded, and the leaf is obtusely pointed.
The serratures or jags on the edges are not
so deep, the surface of the leaf is more un-
even, the texture not so delicate, and the
colour is a dark olive green.
These characters of course can be ob-
served only after the dried leaves have been
suffered to macerate in water for about
The leaves of some sorts of tea may differ
in size, but the shape is the same in all of
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 233
them ; because all the different kinds of tea
imported from China are the produce of one
species of plant, and the difference between
the green and souchong, or black tea, de-
pends chiefly upon the climate, soil, culture,
age, and mode of drying the leaves.
Our ladies are our tea-makers ; let them
study the leaf as well as the liquor ; let them
become familiar with both vegetables, with
their forms, colours, flavours, and scents; let
us drink our tea upon the responsibility of
our wives, daughters, and sisters, and not
upon that of our grocers. Let every female
distinguish tea-leaves from sloe-leaves, as
well as if she had served an apprenticeship
in the ware-house in Leadenhall-street.
Let them wet and spread out the leaves
which come from their grocers, and let
them be compared with our figures.
234 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
The examination of twenty-seven sam-
ples of imitation tea of different qualities,
from the most costly, to the most common,
which it fell to my lot to undertake, induces
me to point out the following chemical marks
of sophistications, as the most simple and
expeditious. Spurious black tea, slightly
moistened, when rubbed on a sheet of white
paper, immediately produces ablueish-black
stain; and speedily affords, when thrown
into cold water, a blueish black tincture,
which instantly becomes reddened by letting
fall into it a drop or two of sulphuric acid.
Two ounces of the suspected leaves should
be infused in half-a-pint of cold, soft water,
and suffered to stand for about three hours.
Genuine tea produces an amber-coloured in-
fusion, which does not become reddened by
COUNTERFEIT TEA, 235
All the samples of spurious green tea
(nineteen in number) which I have examined,
were coloured with carbonate of copper (a
poisonous substance), and not by means of
verdigrise or copperas*. The latter sub-
stances would instantly turn the tea black ;
because both these metallic salts being
soluble in water, are acted on by the
astringent matter of the leaves, whether ge-
nuine or spurious, and convert the infusion
Tea, rendered poisonous by carbonate of
copper, speedily imparts to liquid ammonia
a fine sapphire blue tinge. It is only ne-
* Mr. Twining, an eminent tea-merchant, asserts, that
" the leaves of spurious tea are boiled in a copper,, with
copperas and sheep's dung." See Encyclop. Britan.
vol. xviii. p. 331, 1797. See alo the History of the Tea
Plant, p. 48. ; and p. 22 and 228 of this Treatise.
236 COUNTERFEIT TEA.
cessary to shake up in a stopped vial, for a
few minutes, a tea-spoonful of the suspected
leaves, with about two table-spoonsful of li-
quid ammonia, diluted with half its bulk of
water. The supernatant liquid will exhibit
a fine blue colour, if the minutest quantity
of copper be present.
Green tea, coloured with carbonate of cop-
per, when thrown into water impregnated
with sulphuretted hydrogen gas, immedi-
ately acquires a black colour. Genuine
green tea suffers no change from the action
of these tests.
The presence of copper may be further
rendered obvious, by mixing one part of the
suspected tea-leaves, reduced to powder,
with two or three parts of nitrate of potash,
(or with two parts of chlorate of potash,) and
projecting this mixture by small portions a,t
COUNTERFEIT TEA. 2-37
a time, into a platina, or porcelain-ware cru-
cible, kept red-hot in a coal fire ; the whole
vegetable matter of the tea leaves will thus
become destroyed, and the oxid of copper
left behind, in combination with the potash,
of the nitrate of potash (or salt petre), or
with the muriate of potash, if chlorate of
potash has been employed.
If water, acidulated with nitric acid, be
then poured into the crucible to dissolve the
mass, the presence of the copper may be
rendered manifest by adding to the solution,
liquid ammonia, in such quantity that the
pungent odour of it predominates-
THE fraud of counterfeiting ground cof-
fee by means of pigeons' beans and pease,
is another subject which, ^not long ago, ar-
rested the attention of the public : and
from the numerous convictions of grocers
prosecuted for the offence, it is evident that
this practice has been carried on for a long
time, and to a considerable extent.
The following statement exhibits some of
the prosecutions, instituted by the Solicitor
of the Excise, against persons convicted of
the fraud of manufacturing spurious, and
adulterating genuine, coffee*
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE. 239
Alexander Brady, a grocer, prosecuted
and convicted of selling sham-coffee,
said, " I have sold it for twenty years."
Some of the persons prosecuted by the
solicitor of the Excise for this fraud, we
might, at first sight, be inclined to be-
lieve, were inconscious that the adulterating
of genuine coffee with spurious substances
w r as illegal ; but this ignorance affords no
excuse, as the Act of the 43 Geo. III.
cap. 129, explicitly states : " If after the
first day of September, 1803, any burnt,
scorched, or roasted pease, beans, or other
grain, or vegetable substance or substances
prepared or manufactured for the purpose
of being in imitation of or in any respect to
resemble coffee or cocoa, or to serve as a
substitute for coffee or cocoa, or alledged
or pretended by the possessor or vender
240 COUNTERFEIT COFFEE.
thereof so to be, shall be made or kept for
sale, or shall be offered or expesed to sale,
or shall be found in the custody or posses-
sion of any dealer or dealers in or seller or
sellers of coffee, or if any burnt, scorched,
or roasted pease, beans, or other grain, or
vegetable substance or substances, not being
coffee, shall be called by the preparer,
manufacturer, possessor, or vender thereof,
by the name of English or British coffee,
or any other name of coffee, or by the name
of American cocoa, or English or British
cocoa, or any other name of cocoa, the same
respectively shall be forfeited, together with
the packages containing the same, and shall
and may be seized by any officer or officers
of Excise; and the person or persons pre-
paring, manufacturing, or selling the same*
or having the same in his, her, or their cus*
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE. 241
tody or possession, or the dealer or dealers
in or seller or sellers of coffee or cocoa, in
whose custody the same shall be found,
shall forfeit and lose the sum of one hun-
List of Grocers prosecuted and convicted
by the Solicitor of the Excise (I8l8) t for
The Jlttorney-General against Malins,
This was an information filed by the At-
torney-General against the defendant, charg-
ing him, he being a dealer in coffee, with
having in his possession a large quantity of
imitation coffee, made from scorched pease
and beans, resembling coffee, and intended
to be sold as such, contrary to the statute of
242 COUNTERFEIT COFFEE,
the 43d of the King, whereby he became
liable to pay a fine of 100.
J.Lawes deposed that he had lived servant
with the defendant; he constantly roasted
pease and beans, and ground them into
powder. When so ground, the powder
very much resembled coffee. Sometimes
the sweepings of the coffee were thrown in
among the pease and beans. Witness carried
out this powder to several grocers in differ-
ent parts of the town.
Thomas Jones lived with the defendant.
His occupation was roasting and grinding
pease and beans. They looked, when ground,
the same as coffee. Witness had seen Mr.
John Malins sweep up the refuse coffee, and
mix it with the pease and beans. He had
taken out this mixture to grocers.
J. Richardson, an excise-officer, deposed,
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE. 243
that, in December 1817, he went to the pre-
mises of the defendant, and there seized
four sacks, five tubs, and nine pounds in
paper, of a powder made to resemble coffee.
The quantity ground was 1,567 pounds; it
had all the appearance of coffee; and a
little coffee being mixed with it, any com-
mon person might be deceived. He also
seized two sacks containing 279 pounds of
whole pease and beans roasted. Among" the
latter were some grains of coffee. The
witness here produced samples of the arti-
John Lawes deposed, that the articles
exhibited were such as he was in the habit
of manufacturing while in Mr. Mai ins' em-
The jury found a verdict for the Crown.
244 COUNTERFEIT COFFEE.
The Kiny against Chaloner. -Mr. Cha-
loner, a dealer in tea and coffee, was charged
on the oaths of Charles Henry Lord and John
Pearson, both Excise officers, with having
in his possession, on the 17th of March,
nine pounds of spurious coffee, consisting'
of burnt pease, beans, and gravel or sand,
and a portion of coffee, and with selling
some of the same ; also with having in his
possession seventeen pounds of vegetable
powder, and an article imitating coffee,
which contained not a particle of genuine
The defendant was convicted in the pe-
nalty of 90.
The Kiny against Peether. This was an
action similar to the last.- Verdict for the
Crown, penalty of 50.
The Kiny ayainst Toppiny. Verdict for
the Crown, penalty of 50.
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE. 245
The King against Hallett. Verdict for
the Crown, penalty of 50.
The King against Pox. This defendant,
in his defence, said, he had sold sham coffee
for years ; he did it as a matter of accom-
modation to the poor, who could not give
a higher price \ he did not sell it for ge-
Commissioner of the Excise. " Then
you have been defrauding the public for
.many years, and injuring the revenue by
your illicit practices : the poor have an equal
right to be supplied with as genuine an ar-
ticle as the rich,"
He -wag convicted in the penalty of 50.
The King against Brady. One of the
commissioners tasted some of the sham
coffee produced by the officers, and declared
246 COUNTERFEIT COFFEE.
tLat it was a most infamous stuff, and unfit
for human food.
Defendant. " Why, I have sold it for
Commissioner. " Then you have been
for twenty years acting most dishonestly,
defrauding the revenue ; and the health of
the poor must have suffered very much by
taking such an unwholesome article. Your
having dealt in this article so long aggra-
vates your case ; you have for twenty years
been selling burnt beans and pease for ge-
nuine coffee. You are convicted in the pe-
nalty of 50."
The King against Bowser. This de-
fendant pleaded guilty to the charge, and
prayed the court to mitigate the penalty.
He was convicted in the penalty of 50*
COUNTERFEIT COFFEE. 247
The King against Owen*. Mr. Lawes
addressed the commissioners on behalf of
the defendant, in mitigation of punishment ;
for he did not mean to deny the offence.
His client was a very young man, and had
been most unfortunate in business. He was
not aware until lately of the existence of
any law by which it could be punished.
He was convicted in the penalty of 50
for each quantity of sham coffee.
. Mr. Greely and Mr. Dando were fined
20 each ; and Mr. Hirling and Mr. Terry
were fined 90 each, for selling spurious
The adulteration of ground coffee, with
pease and beans, is beyond the reach of
* Times, July 10, 1818. t Times, June 6, 1818.
248 COUNTERFEIT COFFEE.
chemical analysis ; but it may, perhaps, not
be amiss on this occasion to give to our
readers a piece of advice given by a retired
grocer to a friend, at no distant period :
" Never, my good fellow," he said, " pur-
chase from a grocer any thing which passes
through his mill. You know not what
you g*et instead of the article yon expect
to receive coffee, pepper, and all-spice,
are all mixed with substances which de-
tract from their own natural qualities."
Persons keeping mills of their own can at
all times prevent these impositions.
BY the Excise laws at present existing
in this country, the various degrees of
strength of brandy, rum, arrack, gin, whis-
key, and other spirituous liquors, chiefly
composed of little else than spirit of wine,
are determined by the quantity of alcohol
of a given specific gravity contained in the
spirituous liquor of a supposed unknown
strength. The great public importance of
this subject in this country, where the con-
sumption of spirituous liquors adds a vast
250 ADULTERATION OF
sum to the public revenue, has been the
means of instituting 1 many very interesting-
series of experiments on this subject. The
instrument used for that purpose by the
Customs and officers of Excise, is called
Sikes' s hydrometer*, which has now su-
perseded the instrument called Clark's
hydrometer, heretofore in use.
The specific gravity or strength of the
legal standard spirit of the Excise, is tech-
nically called proof, or proof spirit. " This
liquor (not being spirit sweetened, or having
any ingredient dissolved in it, to defeat
the strength thereof), at the temperature of
* George III. c. xxviii, May 1818. " An Act for
establishing the use of Sikes's hydrometer in ascer-
taining the strength of spirit, instead of Clark's hy-
drometer/' first established by 56 Geo. III. c. 3, 110,
and amended by Geo, III. c. 28.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 251
51 Faht. weighs exactly fth parts of an
equal measure of distilled water ;" and with
this spirit the strength of all other spiritu-
ous liquors are compared according to law.
The strength of brandy, rum, arrack, gin,
or other spirituous liquors, weaker than
proof, or below proof, is estimated by the
quantity of water which would be necessary
to bring the spirit up to proof.
The hydrometer is calculated to shew the
percentage of strength above or below proof,
as the case may be, of the spirit submitted
to trial. The stern of the instrument is
graduated, and so sub-divided, as to meet
every variety in the strength of the liquor
to be examined, which may fall between the
weights (nine in number), used with the in-
strument; the divisions and sub-divisions on
the hydrometer, which remain above the sur-
252 ADULTERATION OF
face of the liquor in which the instrument
is made to swim, being added to the number
upon the weight used, and together forming
But as the difference of temperature af-
fects materially the specific gravity of spi-
rituous liquors, a thermometer, and tables
of the concentration of strength as denoted
by the hydrometer, are used in the appli-
cation of the instrument. The officer of
the Excise has therefore only to turn to the
tables opposite the indication, and imme-
diately under the temperature he finds the
percentage of the strength of the liquor.
The quantity of proof spirit in any quan-
tity of spirituous liquor of any other strength,
is found by multiplying the quantity of spirit
by its percentage of strength, the decimal
point in the percentage being first renloved
two places to the left hand, and deducting
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 253
the product, if the spirit be below proof,
from ; or adding it, if above proof, to the
cjuantity of liquor.
For Example, 125 gallons.
Weight used.. 50.
Subdivision shewn by the hydrometer... 1.2
Temperature by the thermometer 68
Opposite 51.2 on the column of indica-
tions, and under the 68th degree of tem-
perature, is 8.4 per cent, above proof; had
it been below proof, the 10.500 must have
been deducted, and would have left 1142
of proof spirit, contained in the 125 gallons
of the liquor.
Brandy and rum is seizable^if sold by> or
found in the possession of, the dealer, un-
less it possesses a certain strength*. The
following are the words of the Act :
* Seventeen per cent below proof, according to
254 ADULTERATION OF
" No distiller, rectifier*, compounder or
dealer, shall serve or send out any foreign
spirits, of a lower strength than that of 1
in 6 under hydrometer prooff, nor have in
his possession any foreign spirits mixed to-
gether, except shrub, cherry or raspberry
brandy, of lower strength than as aforesaid,
upon pain of such spirits being forfeited ;
and such spirits, with the casks and vessels
containing the same, may be seized by any
officer of Excise.' 5
We have, therefore, a ready check against
the frauds of the dishonest dealers in spi-
rituous liquors. If the spirit merchant
engage to deliver a liquor of a certain
* 30 Geo. III. c. 37, sec. 31.
t According to Clarke's hydrometer, or 17 per cent,
below proof, according to Sikes's hydrometer.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 255
strength, the hydrometer is by far the most
easy and expeditious check that can be
adopted to guard against frauds of receiving
a weaker liquor for a stronger one ; and to
those individuals who are in the habit of
purchasing 1 large quantities of brandy, rum,
or other spirituous liquors, the hydrometer
renders the greatest service. For it is by
no means an uncommon occurren^, to meet
with brandy, rum, and other spirituous li-
quors, of a specific gravity very much below
the pretended strength which the liquor
ought to possess.
The following advice given to his read-
ers*, by the author of a Treatise on Brewing
* The Distillers' Guide, by P. Jonas, 1818, p. 3;
also Observations on Malted and Unmalted Corn,
connected with Brewing and Distilling, p. 167 ; and
Shannon on Brewing and Distilling, p. 232, 233.
256 ADULTERATION OF
and Distilling-, may serve to put the unwary
on their guard against some of the frauds
practised by mercenary dealers.
" It is a custom among retailing- distillers,
which I have not taken notice of in this di-
rectory, to put one third or one fourth part
of proof molasses brandy, proportionably, to
what rum they dispose of; which cannot
be distinguished, but by an extraordinary
palate, and does not at all lessen the body or
proof of the goods ; but makes them about
two shillings a gallon cheaper; and must
be well mixed and incorporated together in
your retailing- cask ; but you should keep
some of the best rum, not adulterated, to
please some customers, whose judgment
and palate must be humoured.
" When you are to draw a sample of goods
to shew a person that has judgment in the
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 257
proof, do not draw your goods into a phial
to be tasted, or make experiment of the
strength thereof that way, because the proof
will not hold except the goods be exceed-
ingly strong; but draw the pattern of goods
either into a p;lass from the cock, to run
very small, or rather draw off a small
quantity into a little pewter pot and pour
it into your glass, extending your pot as
high above the glass as you can without
wasting it, which makes the goods carry a
better head abundantly, than if the same
goods were to be put and tried in a phial.
" You must be so prudent as to make a
distinction of the persons you have to deal
with ; what goods you sell to gentlemen for
their own use who require a great deal of
attendance, and as much for time of pay-
ment, you must take a considerably greater
258 ADULTERATION OF
price than of others ; what goods you sell
to persons where you believe there is a
manifest, or at least some hazard of your
money, you may safely sell for more than
common profit ; what goods you sell to the
poor, especially medicinally, (as many of
your goods are sanative), be as compas-
sionate as the cases require.
" All brandies, whether French, Spanish,
or English, being proof goods, will admit of
one pint of liquor (water) to each gallon,
to be made up and incorporated therewith
in your cask, for retail, or selling smaller
quantities ; and all persons that insist upon
having proof goods, which not one in twenty
understands, you must supply out of what
goods are not so reduced, though at a
Such is the advice given by Mr. Shannon.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 259
The mode of judging by the taste of spi-
rituous liquors is deceitful. A false strength
is given to a weak liquor, by infusing in it
acrid vegetable substances, or by adding
to it a tincture of grains of paradise and
Guinea pepper. These substances impart
to weak brandy or rum, an extremely hot
and pungent taste.
Brandy and rum is also frequently so-
phisticated with British molasses, or sugar-
spirit, coloured with burnt sugar.
The flavour which characterises French
brandy, and which is owing to a small
portion of a peculiar essential oil contained
in k, is imitated by distilling- British mo-
lasses spirit over wine lees ; but the spirit,
prior to being distilled over wine lees, is
previously deprived, in part, of its peculiar
disagi-eeable flavour, by rectification over
260 ADULTERATION OF
fresh-burnt charcoal and quicklime. Other
brandy-merchants employ a spirit obtained
from raisin wine, which is suffered to pass
into an incipient acescency. The spirit
thus procured partakes strongly of the
flavour which is characteristic of foreign
Oak saw-dust, and a spirituous tincture
of raisin stones, are likewise used to impart
to new brandy and rum a ripe taste, resem-
bling brandy or rum long kept in oaken
casks, and a somewhat oily consistence,
so as to form a double froth at its surface,
when strongly agitated in a vial. The co-
louring substances are burnt sugar, or mo-
lasses; the latter gives to imitative brandy
a luscious taste, and fulness in the mouth.
These properties are said to render it parti-
cularly fit for the retail London customers.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUOflS. 261
The following- is the method of com-
pounding or making up 9 as it is technically
called, brandy* for retail:
" To ten puncheons of brandy . 1081
Add flavoured raisin spirit... 118
Tincture of grains of paradise 4
Cherry laurel water 2
Spirit of Almond cakes 2
" Add also 10 handfuls of oak saw-dust;
and give it complexion with burnt sugar."
METHOD OF DETECTING THE ADUL-
TERATIONS OF BRANDY, RUM, AND
THE false strength of brandy or rum is
rendered obvious by diluting the suspected
* Observations on Malted and Unmalted Corn, con-
nected with Brewing and Distilling-, p, 167.
262 ADULTERATION OF
liquor with water ; the acrimony of the cap-
sicum, and grains of paradise, or pepper,
may then be readily discovered by the
The adulteration of brandy with British
molasses, or sugar-spirit, becomes evident
by rubbing a portion of the suspectetl
brandy between the palm of the hands; the
spirit, as it evaporates, leaves the disagree-
able flavour which is peculiar to all British
spirits. Or the liqour may be deprived of
its alcohol, by heating a portion in a spoon
over a candle, till the vapour ceases to catch
fire on the approach of a lighted taper. The
residue thus obtained, of genuine French
brandy, possesses a vinous odour, still
resembling* the original flavour of the
brandy, whilst the residue, produced from
sophisticated brandy, has a peculiar disa-
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS, 263
greeable smell, resembling gin, or the breath
of habitual drunkards.
Arrack is coarsely imitated by adding to
rum a small quantity of 'pyroligneous acid
and some flowers (acid) of benzoe. The
compound thus produced, however, must
be pronounced a bad one. The author of a
very popular Cookery Book, (the Cook's
Oracle, 2d edition, p. 480,) directs two scru-
ples of benzoic acid to be dissolved in one
quart of rum, to make " mock arrack."
MALT spirit, or gin, the favourite liquor
of the lower order of people, which is cha-
racterized by the peculiar flavour of juniper
berries, over which the raw spirit is distilled,
204 ADULTERATION OF
is usually obtained from a mixture of malt
and barley : sometimes both molasses and
corn are employed, particularly if there be
a scarcity of grain. But the flavour of whis-
key, which is made from barley and oats, is
owing to the malted grain being dried with
peat, the smoke of which gives it the charac-
The malt distiller is not allowed to fur-
nish, under a heavy penalty, any crude or
raw spirit to the rectiiier or manufacturer
of gin, of a greater strength than seven per
cent over proof. The rectifier who receives
the spirit from the inalt distiller is not al-
lowed, under a certain penalty, to send out
the spirit to his customers greater than of a
certain strength, as is obvious from the fol-
lowing words of the Act :
" No rectifier or compounder shall sell or
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 265
send out any British brandy, British rectified
spirits, British compounds, or other British
spirits, of greater strength than that of one
in five under hydrometer proof (Clark's hy-
drometer, equal to 22 per cent, below proof
by Sikes's hydrometer) : and if he shall sell
and send out any such spirits of a greater
strength than that of one in five under hy-
drometer proof, such spirits, with the casks
or vessels containing the same, shall be for-
feited, and may be seized by any officer of
Excise ; and he shall forfeit treble the value
of such spirit, or 50 at the election of the
King's Attorney-General, or the person who
shall sue for the same ; the single value of
such spirits to be estimated at the highest
London price." (30 Geo. III. c. 37, sec. 6.)
If we examine gin, as retailed, we shall
soon be convinced that it is a custom, pretty
266 ADULTERATION OF
prevalent amongst dealers, to weaken this li-
quor considerably with water, and to sweet-
en it with sugar. This fraud may readily
be detected by evaporating a quantity of the
liquor in a table-spoon over a candle, to
dryness ; the sugar will thus be rendered
obvious, in the form of a gum-like substance,
when the spirit is volatilised.
One hundred and twenty gallons of ge-
nuine gin, as obtained from the wholesale
manufactories, are usually made up by frau-
dulent retailers into a saleable commodity,
with fourteen gallons of water and twenty-
six pounds of sugar. Now this dilution of
the liquor produces a turbidness; because
the oil of juniper and other flavouring sub-
stances which the spirit holds in solution,
become precipitated by virtue of the water,
and thus cause the liquor to assume an opa-
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS, 267
line colour: and the spirit thus weakened
cannot readily be rendered clear again by
subsidence. Several expedients are had
recourse to, to clarify the liquor in an expe-
ditious manner ; some of which are hatm-
less; others are criminal, because they ren-
der the liquor poisonous.
One of the methods, which is innocent,
consists in adding to the weakened liquor,
first, a port ion of alum dissolved in water,
and then a solution of sub-carbonate of pot-
ash. The whole is stirred together, and left
undisturbed for twenty-four hours. The
precipitated alumine thus produced from the
alum, by virtue of the sub-carbonate of
potash, acts as a strainer upon the milky
liquor, and carries down with it the finely
divided oily matter which produces the blue
colour of the diluted liquor. Roach, or Ro-
268 ADULTERATION OF
man alum, is also employed, without any
other addition for clarifying- spirituous li-
" To reduce unsweetened Gin*.
" A tun of fine gin 352 gallons
" Water... 36
<f Which, added together, make... 288 gallons
ec The doctor is now put on, and it
is further reduced with water... 19
" Which gives Total 307 gallons
" This done, let lib. of alum be just co-
vered with water, and dissolved by boiling ;
rummage the whole well together, and pour
in the alum, and the whole will be fine in a
* Shannon on Brewing and Distilling, p. 198, and
P. Jonas's Distillers' Guide, 1818, p. 42.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 269
" To prepare and sweeten British Gin*.
" Get from your distiller an empty pun-
cheon or cask, which will contain about 133
gallons. Then take a cask of clear rectified
spirits, 120 gallons, of the usual strength
as rectify ers sell their goods at ; put the
120 gallons of spirits into your empty cask.
" Then take a quarter of an ounce of oil
of vitriol, half an ounce of oil of almonds, a
quarter of an ounce of oil of turpentine, one
ounce of oil of juniper berries, half a pint of
spirit of wine, and half a pound of lump su-
gar. Beat or rub the above in a mortar.
When well rubbed together, have ready
prepared half a gallon of lime water, one
* Shannon on Brewing and Distilling, n ; 19S. aiiu tne
Distillers' Guide, by P. Jonas, p. 44.
270 ADULTERATION OF
gallon of rose water; mix the whole in either
a pail, or cask, with a stick, till every parti-
cle shall be dissolved ; then add to the fore-
going, twenty five pounds of sugar dissolved
in about nine gallons of rain or Thames wa-
ter, or water that has been boiled ; mix the
whole well together, and stir them carefully
with a stick in the 133 gallons cask.
" To force down the same, take and boil
eight ounces of alum in three quarts of water,
for three quarters of an hour ; take it from
the fire, and dissolve by degrees six or seVn
ounces of salt of tartar. When the same is
milk-warm, pour it into your gin, and stir it
well together, as before, for five minutes,the
same as you would a butt of beer newly
fined. Let your cask stand as you mean to
draw it. At every time you purpose to
sweeten again, that cask must be well washed
SPJRITUOUS LIQUORS. 271
out; and take great care never to shake
your cask all the while it is drawing."
Another method of fining spirituous li-
quors, consists in adding to it, first, a solu-
tion of sub-acetate of lead, and then a solu-
tion of alum. This practice is highly dan-
gerous, because part of the sulphate of lead
produced, remains dissolved in the liquor,
which it thus renders poisonous. Unfortu-
nately, this method of clarifying spirituous
liquors, I have good reason to uelie V, i
more frequently practised than the preced-
ing method, because its action is more ra-
pid; and it imparts to the liquor a fine com-
plexion, or great refractive power; hence
some vestiges of lead may often be detected
in malt spirit.
The weakened spirit is then sweetened
with sugar, and, to cover the raw taste of
272 ADULTERATION OF
the malt spirit, a false strength is given to
it with grains of paradise, Guinea pepper,
capsicum, and other acrid and aromatic sub-
METHOD OF DETECTING THE PRE-
SENCE OF LEAD IN SPIRITUOUS
nrpspnrp nf loarl imaty K Asi+^^+^A :~
--- ^ j,~ ~~~ -- . ~ ~xst~v* **xc.j WO ClC/l/CJ^tCCl iAl
spirituous liquors, as stated pages 90 and
114. The cordial called shrub frequently
exhibits vestiges of copper. This contami-
nation, I have been informed, is accidental,
and originates from the metallic vessels em-
ployed in the manufacture of the liquor,
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 273
METHOD OF ASCERTAINING THE QUAN-
TITY OF ALCOHOL IN DIFFERENT
KINDS OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS,
THE quantity of real alcohol in any spiri-
tuous liquors may readily be ascertained by
simple distillation, which process separates
the alcohol from the water and foreign mat-
ters contained in the liquor. Put any quan-
tity of brandy, ruin, or malt spirit, diluted
with about one-fourth its bulk of water, into
a retort fitted to a capacious receiver, and
distil with a gentle heat. The strongest
spirit distils over first into the receiver, and
the strength of the obtained products de-
creases, till at last it contains so much water
as no longer to be inflammable by the ap-
274 ADULTERATION OF
proach of a lighted taper, when held in a
spoon over a caudle (see p. 210). If the
process be continued, the distilled product
becomes milky, scarcely spirituous to the
smell, and of an acidulous taste* The dis-
tilling operation may then be discontinued.
If the first, fourth, or third part, of the dis-
tilled product has been set a part, it will be
found a moderately strong alcohol, and the
remainder one more diluted. If the whole
distilled spirit be mixed with perfectly dry
subcarbonate of potash, the alcohol will float
at the top of the potash, as stated p. 211 ; it
will separate in two distinct fluids. If the
decanted alcohol be re-distilled carefully
with a very gentle heat, over a small portion
of dry quick lime, or muriate of lime, it will
be obtained extremely pure, and of a specific
gravity of about 825, at 60 of temperature.
SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS. 275
Its flavour will vary according to the kind
of spirituous liquor from which it is ob-
Per Centage of Alcohol contained in va-
rious kinds of Spirituous Liquors*.
Alcohol per Cent.
Brandy, Cogniac, average proportion of )
4 samples j 52 >
Ditto, Bourdeaux, ditto ditto 54,50
Ditto, Cette 53,00
Ditto, Naples, average of three samples... 53,25
Ditto, Spanish, average of 6 samples 52,28
Ditto, Leeward, average of 9 samples ... 53,00
Scotch Whiskey, average of 6 samples.... 53,50
Irish Ditto, average of 4 samples 54,25
Arrack, Batavia 49,50
Dutch Geneva 52,25
Gin, Hodges's (own experiment), 3 sam- 7
pies, procured from retail dealers S
Ditto, (ditto) procured from the maim- j
* Repository of Arts, p. 350, Dec. 1819.
SEVERAL instances have come under my
notice in which Gloucester cheese has been
contaminated with red lead, and has pro-
duced serious consequences on being taken
into the stomach* In one poisonous sample
which it fell to my lot to investigate, the
evil had been caused by the sophistication
of the anotto, employed for colouring cheese.
This substance was found to contain a por-
tion of red lead ; a method of sophistication
which has lately been confirmed by the fol-
lowing fact, communicated to the public by
Mr. J. W. Wright> of Cambridge, and co-
POISONOUS CHEESE. 277
pied from the Repository of Arts, vol. viiu
No. 47, p. 262.
" Your readers ought here to be told, that
several instances are on record, that Glou-
cester and other cheeses have been found
contaminated with red lead, and that this
contamination has produced serious conse-
quences. In the instance now alluded to,
rnd probably in all other cases, the delete-
rious mixture had been caused ignorantly,
by the adulteration of the anotto employed
for colouring- the cheese. This substance,
in the instance I shall relate, was found to
contain a portion of red lead ; a species of
adulteration which subsequent experiments
have shewn to be by no means uncommon.
Before I proceed further to trace this fraud
to its source, I shall briefly relate the cir-
278 POISONOUS CHEESE.
cumstknce which gave rise to its detec-
" A gentleman, who had occasion to re-
side for some time in a city in the West of
England, was one night seized with a dis-
tressing butindescribeable pain in the region
of the abdomen and of the stomach, accom-
panied with a feeling of tension, which oc-
casioned much restlessness, anxiety, and re-
pugnance to food. He began to apprehend
the access of an inflammatory disorder ; but
in twenty-four hours the symptoms entirely
subsided. In four days afterwards he ex-
perienced an attack precisely similar i and
he then recollected* that having, on both oc-
casions, arrived from the country late in the
evening, he had ordered a plate of toasted
Gloucester cheese, of which he had partaken
POISONOUS CHEESE. 279
heartily ; a dish which, when at home, re-
gularly served him for supper. He attri-
buted his illness to the cheese. The cir-
cumstance was mentioned to the mistress of
the inn, who expressed great surprise, as
the cheese in question was not purchased
from a country dealer, but from a highly
respectable shop in London. He, therefore,
ascribed the before-mentioned effects to
some peculiarity in his constitution, A few
days afterwards he partook of the same
cheese ; and he had scarcely retired to rest,
when a most violent colic seized him, which
lasted the whole night and part of the en-
suing day. The cook was now directed
henceforth not to serve up any toasted
cheese, and he never again experienced
these distressing symptoms. Whilst this
matter was a subject of conversation in the
house, a servant-maid mentioned that a
kitten had been violently sick after having
eaten the rind cut off from the cheese pre-
pared for the gentleman's supper. The
landlady, in consequence of this statement,
ordered the cheese to be examined by a
chemist in the vicinity^ who returned for
answer, that the cheese was contaminated
with lead ! So unexpected an answer ar-
rested general attention, and more particu-
larly as the suspected cheese had been
served up for several other customers.
" Application was therefore made by the
London dealer to the farmer who manufac-
tured the cheese : he declared that he had
bought the anotto of a mercantile traveller,
who had supplied him and his neighbours
POISONOUS CHEESE. 281
for years with that commodity, without giv-
ing occasion to a single complaint. On sub-
sequent inquiries, through a circuitous chan-
nel, unnecessary to be detailed here at
length, on the part of the manufacturer of
the cheese, it was found, that as the sup-
plies of anotto had been defective and of
inferior quality, recourse had been had to
the expedient of colouring the commodity
with vermillion. Even this admixture could
**~t be Considered dlt^ r * nn - s - But on fur*
ther application being made to the druggist
who sold the article, the answer was, that
the vermillion had been mixed with a por-
tion of red lead; and the deception was held
to be perfectly innocent, as frequently prac-
tised on the supposition, that the vermillion
would be used only as a pigment for house-*
282 POISONOUS CHEESE.
painting. Thus the druggist sold his ver-
rnillion, in the regular way of trade, adulte-
rated with red lead, to increase his profit,
without any suspicion of the use to which it
would be applied ; and the purchaser who
adulterated the anotto, presuming that the
vermillion was genuine, had no hesitation in
heightening the colour of his spurious anotto
with so harmless an adjunct. Thus, through
the circuitous and diversified operations of
Commerce, a portion of deadly poison ma^
find admission into the necessaries of life, in
a way which can attach no criminality to
the parties through whose hands it has suc-
This dangerous sophistication may be de-
tected by macerating a portion of the sus-
pected cheese in water impregnated with
POISONOUS CHEESE, 283
sulphuretted hydrogen, acidulated with
muriatic acid ; which will instantly cause
the cheese to assume a brown or black co-
lour, if the minutest portion of lead be pre-
BLACK PEPPER is the fruit of a shrubby,
creeping plant, which grows wild in the East
Indies, and is cultivated, with much advan-
tage, for the sake of its berries, in Java and
Malabar. The berries are gathered before
they are ripe, and are dried in the sun.
They becoire black and corrugated on the
That factitious pepper-corns have of late
been detected mixed with genuine pepper,
is a fact sufficiently known*. Such an
* Thompson's Annals of Chemistry, 1816 ; a^o Re-
pository of Arts, vol. i.1816, p. 11.
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER. 285
adulteration may prove, in many instances
of household economy, exceedingly vexa-
tious and prejudicial to those who ignorantly
make use of the spurious article. I have
examined large packages of both black and
white pepper, by order of the Excise, and
have found them to contain about 16 per
cent, of this artificial compound. The spu-
rious pepper is made of oil cakes (the resi-
due of lintseed, from which the oil has been
pressed), common clay, and a portion of
Cayenne pepper, formed in a mass, and gra-
nulated by being first pressed through a
sieve, and then rolled in a cask. The mode
of detecting the fraud is easy. It is only
necessary to throw a sample of the sus-
pected pepper into a bowl of water ; the ar-
tificial pepper- corns fall to powder, whilst
the true pepper remains whole.
286 COUNTERFEIT PEPPER.
Ground pepper is very often sophisticated
by adding to a portion of genuine pepper
a quantity of pepper dust, or the sweepings
from the pepper warehouses, mixed with a
little Cayenne pepper. The sweepings are
known, and purchased in the market, under
the name of P. D. signifying pepper dust.
An inferior sort of this vile refuse, or the
sweepings of P. D. is distinguished among
venders by the abbreviation of D. P. D. de-
noting, dust (dirt) of pepper dust.
This adulteration of pepper, and the mak-
ing and selling commodities in imitation of
pepper, are prohibited, under a severe pe-
nalty. The following are the words of the
Act. (Geo. III. c. 53, sec. 21, 1819.)
" And whereas commodities made in imi-
tation of pepper have of late been sold and
found in the possession of various dealers
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER. 287
in pepper, and other persons in Great Bri-
tain ; be it therefore enacted, that from and
after the said 5th day of July 1819, if any
commodity or substance shall be prepared
by any person in imitation of pepper, shall
be mixed with pepper, or sold or delivered
as and for, or as a substitute for pepper, or if
any such commodity or substance alone or
mixed, shall be kept for sale, sold, or deli-
vered, or shall be offered or exposed to sale,
or shall be in custody or possession of any
dealer or seller of pepper, the same, toge-
ther with all pepper with which the same
shall be mixed, shall be forfeited, with the
packages containing the same, and shall
and may be seized by any officer of excise ;
and the person preparing, manufacturing,
mixing as aforesaid, selling, exposing to
sale, or delivering the same, or having the
288 COUNTERFEIT PEPPER-
same in his, her, or their custody or posses-
sion, shall forfeit the sum of one hundred
The following prosecutions and convic-
tions have lately come before the public :
Mr, Baker* was charged with selling an
injurious mixture of rape and mustard seed,
called P. D. for pepper.
The defendant pleaded ignorance, and he
was ordered to pay a fine of 40s.
James Hemmett, a grocer, in Kent-street,
in the Borough, was charged with a similar
Skinner, an officer, deposed, that on the
13th of July last he bought a quarter of a
pound of pepper at the shop of the defen-
dant ; he afterwards examined it, and found
it to contain an injurious mixture.
* Morning Chronicle, January 6th and 19th, 1820.
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER. 289
James Story, the Examining Officer, said,
that there might be a little pepper in it, but
the greatest part was P. D. and that of the
most deleterious quality.
The defendant pleaded ignorance of hav-
ing it in his possession, but did not produce
He was sentenced to pay a fine of 45s.
Mr. Bowling, a grocer, was charged with
a similar offence.
The defendant pleaded that he had before
been convicted by the Court, and trusted
that would be a sufficient punishment.
The Court thought this rather an aggra-
vation, and again convicted him in the sum
Mr. Powey* was charged with selling
* Times, January 5th, 1820.
290 COUNTERFEIT PEPPER.
pepper, containing an injurious mixture, with
intent to defraud the revenue. As this ap-
peared to be part of an oiien^e for which the
defendant had been fined 5, the penalty
was mitigated to 10s,
James Beard w,as charged with selling"
pepper containing a mixture called, in
the trade, P. D which was nothing more
than mustard and rape seed ground to-
gether, and sold for peppejr dust. The
Court expressed its determination to pro-
tect the public from such frauds, and fined
the defendant .5.
THE common white pepper is factitious,
being prepared from the black pepper in
the following manner : - -The pepper is first
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER 291
steeped in sea water and urine, and ex-
posed to the heat of the sun for several
days, till the rind or outer bark loosens ; it
is then taken out of the steep, and, when
dry, it is rubbed with the hand till the rind
falls off. The white fruit is then dried, and
the remains of the rind blown away like
chaff. A great deal of the peculiar flavour
and pungent hot taste of the pepper is taken
off by this process. White pepper is al-
ways inferior in flavour and quality to
However, there is a sort of native white
pepper, produced on a species of the pepper
plant, which is much better than the facti-
tious, and indeed little inferior to the com-
mon black, pepper.
CAYENNE PEPPER is an indiscriminate
mixture of the powder of the dried pods of
many species of capsicum, but especially of
the capsicum frutescens* or bird pepper,
which is the hottest of all.
This annual plant, a native of South Ame-
rica, is cultivated in large quantities in our
West India islands, and even frequently in
our gardenSj for the beauty of its pods, which
are long, pointed and pendulous, at first of
a green colour, and, when ripe, of a bright
orange red. They are filled with a dry loose
pulp, and contain many small, flat, kidney-
COUNTERFEIT PEPPER. 293
shaped seeds. The taste of capsicum is
extremely pungent and acrimonious, setting
the mouth, as it were, on fire.
The principle on which its pungency de-
pends, is soluble in water and in alcohol.
It is sometimes adulterated with red lead,
to prevent its becoming bleached on expo-
sure to light. This fraud may be readily de-
tected by shaking up part of it in a stopped
vial containing water impregnated with sul-
phuretted hydrogen gas, which will cause it
speedily to assume a dark muddy black
colour. Or the vegetable matter of the
pepper may be destroyed, by throwing a
mixture of one part of the suspected pepper
and three of nitrate of potash (or two of
chlorate of potash) into a red-hot crucible,
in small quantities at a time. The mass left
behind may then be digested in weak nitric
294 COUNTERFEIT PEPPER.
acid, and the solution assayed for lead by
water impregnated with sulphuretted hy-
" We advise those who are fond of Cay-
enne not to think it too much trouble to
make it of English Chillies there is no
other way of being sure it is genuine.
They will obtain a pepper of much finer fla-
vour, without half the heat of the foreign ;
and a hundred chillies will produce two
6unces. The flavour of the chillies is very
superior to that of the capsicums. Put
them in a warm place to dry; then rub
them in a mortar, as fin as possible, and
keep them in a well stopped bottle*."
* The Cook's Oracle, 12mo. 1S19.
VEGETABLE substances, preserved in tlfe
state called pickles, by means of the anti-
septic power of vinegar, whose sale fre-
quently depends greatly upon a fine lively
green colour] knd the consumption of
^vhich, by sea-faring people in particular,
is prodigious, are sometimes intentionally
coloured by means of copper. Gerkins,
French beans, samphires, the green pods
of capsicum, and many other pickled vege-
table substances, oftener than is perhaps
expected, are met with impregnated with
this metal* Numerous fatal consequences
296 POISONOUS PICKLES.
are known to have ensued from the use of
these stimulants of the palate, to which the
fresh and pleasing hue has been imparted
according to the deadly formula laid down
in some modern cookery books ; such as
boiling the pickles with half-pence, or suf-
fering them to stand for a considerable
period in brazen vessels.
Dr. Percival [Medical Transactions, vol.
iv. p. 80] has given an account of " a
young lady who amused herself, while her
hair was dressing, with eating samphire
pickles impregnated with copper. She soon
complained of pain in the stomach; and, in
five days, vomiting commenced, which was
incessant for two days. After this, her sto-
mach became prodigiously distended ; and,
in nine days after eating the pickle, death
relieved her from her suffering."
POISONOUS PICKLES. 297
Among many recipes which modern au-
thors of cookery books have given for
imparting a green colour to pickles, the
following are particularly deserving of
censure; and it is to be Loped that they
will be suppressed in future editions of the
" To Pickle Gerkins.* Boil the vinegar
in a bell-metal or copper pot ; pour it boil-
ing hot on your cucumbers."
" To make greening '[.-'Take a bit of
verdigrise, the bigness of ahazle-nut, finely
powdered; half-a-pint of distilled vinegar,
and a bit of alum powder, with a little bay
salt. Put all in a bottle, shake it, and let
* The Ladies' Library, vol. ii. p. 203.
t Modern Cookery, or the English Housewife^ 2d
edition, p. 94.
298 POISONOUS PICKLES*
it stand till clear. Put a small tea-spoon-
ful into codlings, or whatever you wish to
Mr. E. Raffeld* directs, " to render
pickles green, boil them with halfpence, or
allow them to stand for twenty-four hours
in copper or brass pans."
To detect the presence of copper, it
is only necessary to mince the pickles,
and to pour liquid ammonia, diluted with
an equal bulk of water, over them in a
stopped phial : if the pickles contain the
minutest quantity of copper, the ammonia
assumes a blue colour.
* The English Housekeeper, p. 352, 354-. This
book has run through 18 editions.
VINEGAR, as prepared in this country,
from malt, should be of a pale brown co-
lour, perfectly transparent, of a pleasant,
somewhat pungent, acid taste, and fragrant
odour, but without any acrimony. From
the mucilaginous impurities which malt
vinegar always contains, it is apt, on ex-
posure to air, to become turbid arid ropy,
and at last vapid. The inconvenience is
best obviated by keeping the vinegar; in
bottles completely filled arid well corked ;
and it is of advantage to boil it in the bottles
a few minutes before they are corked.
300 ADULTERATION OF VINEGAR.
Vinegar is sometimes largely adulterated
with sulphuric acid, to give it more acidity.
The presence of this acid is detected, if, on
the addition of a solution of acetate of ba-
ry tes, a white precipitate is formed, which is
insoluble in nitric acid, after having been
made red-hot in the fire. (See p. 208.) With
the same intention, of making the vinegar
appear stronger, different acrid vegetable-
substances are infused in it. This fraud is
difficult of detection ; but when tasted with
attention, the pungency of such vinegar will
be found to depend rather on acrimony than
Distilled vinegar, which is employed for
various purposes of domestic economy,
is frequently distilled, not in glass, as it
ought to be, but in common stills with a
ADULTERATION OF VINEGAR. 301
pewter pipe, whence it cannot fail to ac-
quire a metallic impregnation,
One ounce, by measure, should dissolve
at least thirteen grains of white marble.
It should not form a precipitate on the
addition of a solution of acetate of barytes,
or of water saturated with sulphuretted
hydrogen. The former circumstance shews
that it is adulterated with sulphuric acid ;
and the latter indicates a metal.
The metallic impregnation is best ren-
dered obvious by sulphuretted hydrogen, in
the manner stated, page 87. The distilled
vinegar of commerce usually contains tin,
and not lead, as has been asserted*
CREAM is often adulterated with rice pow-
der or arrow-root. The former is frequently
employed for that purpose by pastry-cooks,
in fabricating creams and custards, for tarts,
and other kinds of pastry. The latter is
often used in the London dairies. Arrow-
root is preferable to rice powder ; for, when
converted with milk into a thick mucilage
by a gentle ebullition, it imparts to cream,
previously diluted with milk, a consistence
and apparent richness, by no means unpa-
ADULTERATION OF CREAM. 303
latable, without materially impairing the
taste of the cream.
The arrow-root powder is mixed up with
a small quantity of cold skimmed milk into
a perfect, smooth, uniform mixture ; more
milk is then added, and the whole boiled
for a few minutes, to effect the solution of
the arrow-root : this compound, when per-
fectly cold, is mixed up with the cream.
From 220 to 230 grains (or three large tea-
spoonsful) of arrow-root are added to one
pint of milk ; and one part of this solution
is mixed with three of cream. It is scarcely
necessary to state, that this sophistication
The fraud may be detected by adding to
a teaspoonful of the sophisticated cream
a few drops of a solution of jodine in spirit
304 ADULTERATION OP CREAM.
of wine, which instantly produces with it a
dark blue colour. Genuine cream acquires^
by the addition of this test, a faint yellow
The common notion, of milk being adul-
terated with chalk, or whiting, is unfounded.
Such an adulteration is not practicable,
without being immediately detected ; be-
cause the smallest quantity of whiting, or
chalk, speedily separates, and falls to the
I have been frequently called upon to
examine samples of milk, supposed to be
sophisticated with whiting-, but a chemical
examination of the milk always proved the
contrary. That a liberal quantity of water
is often added to the London milk, admits
of no doubt.
IN the preparation of sugar plums, com-
fits, and other kinds of confectionery, espe-
cially those sweetmeats of inferior qua-
lity frequently exposed to sale in the open
streets, for the allurement of children, the
grossest abuses are committed. The white
comfits, called sugar pease, are chiefly
composed of a mixture of sugar^ starch,
and Cornish clay (a species of very white
pipe-clay); and the red sugar drops are
usually coloured with the inferior kind of
vermillion. This pigment is generally adul-
terated with red lead. Other kinds of sweet-
306 POISONOUS CONFECTIONERY.
meats are sometimes rendered poisonous by
being coloured with preparations of copper.
The following account of Mr. Miles* may be
advanced in proof of this statement:
" Some time ago, while residing in the
house of a confectioner, I noticed the co-
louring of the green fancy sweetmeats being
done by dissolving sap-green in brandy.
Now sap-green itself, as prepared from the
juice of the buckthorn berries, is no doubt
a harmless substance; but the manufactu-
rers of ; this colour have for many years past
produced various tints, some extremely
bright, -which there can be no doubt are
effected by adding preparations of copper.
" The sweetmeats which accompany
these lines you will find exhibit vestiges
* Philosoph. Mag. No. 25$, vol. M. 1819. p. 317.
POISONOUS CONFECTIONERY. 307
of being contaminated with copper. The
practice of colouring these articles of con-
fectionery should, therefore, be banished:
the proprietors of which are not aware of
the deleterious quality of the substances
employed by them*"
, The foreign conserves, such as small
green limes, citrons, hop-tops, plums, an*
gelica roots, &c. imported into this country,
and usually sold in round chip boxes, are
frequently impregnated with copper.
The adulteration of confitures by means
of clay, may be detected by simply dis-
solving the comfits in a large quantity of
boiling water. The clay, after suffering
the mixture to stand undisturbed for a few
days, will fall to the bottom of the vessel ;
and on decanting the clear fluid, and suffer-
ing the sediment to become dry gradually, it
308 POISONOUS CONFECTIONERY.
may be obtained in a separate state. If the
adulteration has been effected by means of
clay, the obtained precipitate, on exposure
to a red heat in the bowl of a common
tobacco-pipe, acquires a brick hardness.
The presence of copper may be detected
by pouring over the comfits liquid ammonia,
which speedily acquires a blue colour, if
this metal be present. The presence of
lead is rendered obvious by water impreg-
nated with sulphuretted hydrogen, acidu-
lated with muriatic acid (see p. 87), which
assumes a dark brown or black colour, if
lead be present.
THIS article is very often subjected to
one of the most reprehensible modes of adul-
teration ever devised. Quantities are daily
to be met with, which, on a chemical exa-
mination, are found to abound with copper.
Indeed, this condiment is often nothing else
than the residue left behind after the process
employed for obtaining distilled vinegar,
subsequently diluted with a decoction of the
outer green husk of the walnut, and sea-
soned with all-spice, Cayenne pepper, pi-
mento. garlick, and common salt*.
* The best method of making Mushroom Catsup is
detailed in receipt No. 439, of the Cook's Oracle. It
is too long to insert here.
310 POISONOUS CATSUP.
The quantity of copper which we have,
more than once, detected in this sauce, used
for seasoning, and which, on account of its
cheapness, is much resorted to by people in
the lower walks of life, has exceeded the
proportion of lead to be met with in other
articles employed in domestic economy.
The following account of Mr. Lewis, (Li-
terary Chronicle, No. 24, p. 379,) on this
subject, will be sufficient to cause the public
to be on their guard.
" Being in the habit of frequently pur-
chasing large quantities of pickles and other
culinary sauces, for the use of my establish-
ment^ and also for foreign trade, it fell lately
to my lot to purchase from a manufacturer
of those commodities a quantity of walnut
catsup, apparently of an excellent quality;
but, to my great surprise, I had reason to
POISONOUS CATSUP. 311
believe that the article might be contami-
nated with some deleterious substance, from
circumstances which happened in my busi-
ness as a tavern keeper, but which are un-
necessary to be detailed here; and it was
this that induced me to make inquiry con-
cerning the compounding of the suspected
" The catsup being prepared by boiling
in a copper, as is usually practised, the
outer green shell of walnuts, after having
been suffered to turn black by exposure to
auyia combination with common salt, with a
portion of pimento and pepper dust, in com-
mon vinegar, strengthened with some vine-
gar extract, left behind as residue in the still
of vinegar manufacturers; I therefore Sus-
pected that the catsup might be impregnated
312 POISONOUS CATSUP.
with some copper. To convince myself of
this opinion, I boiled down to dry ness a
quart of it in a stone pipkin, which yielded
tome a dark brown mass. I put this mass
into a crucible, and kept it on a coal fire,
red hot, till it became reduced to a porous
black charcoal ; on urging the heat with a
pair of bellows, and stirring the mass in the
crucible with the stem of a tobacco-pipe, it
became, after two hours' exposure to an in-
tense heat, converted into a greyish-white
ash; but no metal could be discriminated
amongst it. I now poured upon it some
aqua fortis, which dissolved nearly the whole
of it, with an effervescence; and produced,
after having been suffered to stand, to let the
insoluble portion subside, a bright grass-
green solution, of a strong metallic taste;
POISONOUS CATSUP. 313
after immersing into this solution the blade
of a knife, it became instantly covered with
a bright coat of copper."
" The walnut catsup was therefore evi-
dently strongly impregnated with copper.
On informing the manufacturer of this fact,
he assured me, that the same method of pre-
paring the liquor was generally pursued,
and that he had manufactured the article in
a like manner for upwards of twenty years.
" Such is the statement I wish to commu-
nicate; and if you will allow it a place in
your Literary Chronicle, it may perhaps tend
to put the unwary on their guard against the
practice of preparing this sauce by boiling it
in a copper, which certainly may contami-
nate the liquor, and render it poisonous."
LOZENGES, particularly those into the
composition of which substances enter that
are not soluble in water, as ginger, cream of
tartar, magnesia, &c. are often sophisticated.
The adulterating ingredient is usually pipe-
clay, of which a liberal portion is substituted
for sugar. The following detection of tin's
fraud was lately made by Dr. T. Lloyd.
(Literary Gazette, No. 146.)
" Some ginger lozenges having lately
fallen into my hands, I was not a little sur-
prised to observe, accidentally, that when
thrown into a coal fire, they suffered but
ADULTERATION OF LOZENGES. 3l5
little change. If one of the lozenges were
laid on a shovel, previously made red-hot,
it speedily took fire ; but instead of burning
with a blaze and becoming converted into a
charcoal, it took fire, and burnt with a fee-
ble flame for scarcely half a minute, and
there remained behind a stony hard sub-
stance, retaining the form of the lozenge.
This unexpected result led me to examine
these lozenges, which were bought at a re-
spectable chemist's shop in the city ; and I
soon became convinced, that, in the prepa-
ration of them, a considerable quantity of
common pipe-clay had been substituted for
sugar. On making a complaint about this
fraud at the shop where the article was sold,
I was informed that there were two kinds of
ginger lozenges kept for sale, the one at
three-pence the ounce, and the other at six-
316 ADULTERATION OF LOZENGES.
pence per ounce ; and that the article fur-
nished to me by mistake was the cheaper
commodity; the latter were distinguished
by the epithet verum, they being composed
of sugar and ginger only: but the former
were manufactured partly of white Cornish
clay, with a portion of sugar only, with gin-
ger and Guinea pepper. I was likewise in-
formed, that of Tolu lozenges, peppermint
lozenges and ginger pearls, and several
other sorts of lozenges, two kinds were kept;
that the reduced articles, as they were called,
were manufactured for those very clever
persons in their own conceit, who are fond of
haggling, and insist on buying better bar-
gains than other people, shutting their eyes
to the defects of an article, so that they can
enjoy the delight of getting it cheap ; and,
secondly, for those persons, who being but
ADULTERATION OF LOZENGES. 317
bad paymasters, yet, as the manufacturer,
for his own credit's sake, cannot charge
more than the usual price of the articles, he
thinks himself therefore authorized to adul-
terate it in value, to make up for the risk he
runs, and the long credit he gives."
The comfits, called ginger pearls, are fre?
quently adulterated with clay. Thesefrauds
may be detected in the manner stated, page
THIS commodity is sometimes contami-
nated with lead, because the fruit which
yields the oil is submitted to the action of
the press between leaden plates ; and it is,
moreover, a practice (particularly in Spain)
to suffer the oil to become clear in leaden
cisterns, before it is brought to market for
sale. The French and Italian olive oil is
usually free from this impregnation.
Olive oil is sometimes mixed with oil of
poppy seeds : but, by exposing the mixture
to the freezing temperature, the olive oil
POISONOUS OLIVE OIL. 319
freezes, while that of the poppy seeds re-
mains fluid ; and as oils which freeze with
most difficulty are most apt to become rancid,
olive oil is deteriorated by the mixture of
Good olive oil should have a pale yellow
colour, somewhat inclining to green ; a
bland taste, without smell ; and should con-
geal at 38 Fahrenheit. In this country, it
is frequently met with rancid.
The presence of lead is detected by shak-
ing, in a stopped vial, one part of the sus-
pected oil, with two or three parts of water,
impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen.
This agent will render the oil of a dark
brown or black colour, if any metal, delete-
rious to health, be present. The practice of
keeping this oil in pewter or leaden cisterns,
320 POISONOUS OLIVE OIL.
as is often the case, is objectionable ; because
the oil acts upon the metal. The dealers in
this commodity assert, that it prevents the
oil from becoming rancid : and hence some
retailers often suffer a pewter measure to
remain immersed in the oil.
of 3*mott 8tfou
IT is well known to every one, that the
expressed juice of lemons is extremely apt
to spoil, on account of the saccharine muci-
lagenous matter which it contains ; and
hence various means have been practised,
with the intention of rendering" it less perish-
able, and less bulky. The juice has been
evaporated to the consistence of rob; but
this always gives an unpleasant empyreu-
matic taste, and does not separate the foreign
matters, so that it is still apt to spoil when
agitated on board of ship in tropical climates.
It has been exposed to frost, and part of the
water removed under the form of ice; but
this is liable to all the former objections:
and, besides, where lemons are produced in
sufficient quantity, there is not a sufficient
322 ADULTERATION OF LEMON ACID.
degree of cold. The addition of a portion of
spirit to the inspissated juice, separates the
mucilage, but not the extractive matter and
the sugar. By means, however, of sepa-
rating the foreign matters associated with it
in the juice, by chemical processes unneces-
sary to be detailed here, citric acid is now
manufactured, perfectly pure, and in a crys-
tallised form, and is sold under the name of
concrete lemon acid. In this state it is ex-
tremely convenient, both for domestic and
medicinal purposes. One drachm, when dis-
solved in one ounce of water, is as acid as a
like bulk of fresh lemon juice. To commu-
nicate the flavour of the lemon, rub a lump
of sugar on the rind of a lemon to become
impregnated with a portion of the essential
oil of the fruit, and add this to the lemonade^
negus, punch, shrub, jellies, or culinary
sauces, prepared with the pure citric acid.
ADULTERATION OF LEMON ACID. 323
Fraudulent dealers often substitute the
cheaper tartareous acid for citric acid. The
neg'iis and lemonade made by the pastry-
cooks, and the punch sold at taverns in this
metropolis, is made with tartareous acid.
To discriminate citric acid from tartare-
ous acid, it is only necessary to add a con-
centrated solution of the suspected acid, to
a concentrated solution of muriate of potash,
taking care that the solution of the acid is in
excess. If a precipitate ensue, the fraud is
obvious, because citric acid does not produce
a precipitate with a solution of muriate or
potash. Or, by adding to a saturated solution
of tartrate of potash, a saturated solution of
the suspected acid, in excess, which produces
with it an almost insoluble precipitate in
minute granular crystals. Pure citric acid
produces no such effect when added m
excess to tartrate of potash.
THE beverage called soda water is fre-
quently contaminated both with copper and
lead ; these metals being largely employed
in the construction of the apparatus for pre-
paring the carbonated water*, and the great
excess of carbonic acid which the water con-
tains, particularly enables it to act strongly
oft the metallic substances of the apparatus;
a truth, of which the reader will find no
difficulty in convincing himself, by suffering
a stream of sulphuretted hydrogen gas to
pass through the water. (See p. 89.)
* Some manufacturers have been hence induced to
construct the apparatus for manufacturing soda water
wholly either of earthenware or of glass. Mr. Johnston*
of Greek Street, Soho, was the first who pointed out
to the public the absolute necessity of this precaution.
SEVERAL samples which we have ex-
amined of this fish sauce, have been found
contaminated with lead.
The mode of preparation of this fish-
sauce, consists in rubbing down the broken
anchovy in a mortar: and this triturated
mass, being of a dark brown colour, re-
ceives, without much risk of detection, a
certain quantity of Venetian red, added for
the purpose of colouring it, which, if ge-
nuine, is an innocent colouring substance :
but instances have occurred of this pigment
having been adulterated with orange lead,
which is nothing else than a better kind of
326 POISONOUS ANCHOVY SAUCE.
minium, or red oxid of lead. The fraud
may be detected as stated p. 312.
The conscientious oilmen, less anxious
with respect to colour, substitute for this
poison the more harmless pigment, called
The following- recipe for making this fish
sauce is copied from Gray's Supplement to
the Pharmacopoeias, p. 241.
" Anchovies, 2 Ibs. to 4 Ibs. and a half;
pulp through a fine hair sieve; boil the
bones with common salt, 7 oz. in water
6 Ibs.; strain; add flour 7 oz. and the pulp
of the fish ; boil ; pass the whole through
the sieve ; colour with Venetian red to your
fancy. It should produce 1 gallon."
As this fish sauce is so often in request,
we give the following receipt of the best
way of making it :
POISONOUS ANCHOVY SAUCE. 327
" Put 10 or 12 anchovies into a mortar,
and pound them to a pulp ; put this into a
very clean iron, or well tinned copper sauce-
pan ; then put a table spoonful of cold spring
\vater into the mortar; shake it round, and
pour it to the anchovies; set them over,
or by the side of a gentle fire, and stir them
very frequently till they are melted ; then
add a quarter of a drachm (avoirdupois)
of Cayenne; let it remain by the fire a few
minutes longer; then while warm rub it
through a hair sieve with the back of a
From the Cook's Oracle, 2nd edit. 1819, receipt
THE leaves of the cherry laurel, prunus
lauro-cerasus, a poisonous plant, have a
nutty flavour, resembling that of the kernels
of peach-stones, or of bitter almonds, which
to most palates is grateful. These leaves
have for many years been in use among
cooks, to communicate an almond or kernel-
like flavour to custards, puddings, creams,
blanc-mange, and oilier delicacies of the
It has been asserted, that the laurel poison
in custards and other articles of cookery,
is, on account of its being used in very small
POISONOUS CUSTARD. 329
quantities, quite harmless. To refute this
assertion, numerous instances might be cited;
and, among them, a recent one, in which four
children suffered most severely from par-
taking of custard flavoured with the leaves
of this poisonous plant.
" Several children at a boarding-school,
in the vicinity of Richmond, having par-
taken of some custard flavoured with the
leaves of the cherry laurel, as is frequently
practised by cooks, one of the poor inno-
cents were taken severely ill in consequence.
Two of them, a girl six years of age, and a
boy of five years old, fell into a profound
sleep, out of which they could not be roused."
" Notwithstanding the various medical
exertions used, the boy remained in a stupor
ten hours, and the girl nine hours; the
330 POISONOUS CUSTARD.
other two, one of which was six years old,
a girl, and a girl of seven years, complained
of severe pains in the epigastric region.
They all recovered, after three days' illness.
I am anxious to communicate to you this
fact, being convinced that your publication
is read at all the scholastic establishments
in this part of the country. I hope you will
allow these lines a corner in your Literary
Chronicle, where they may contribute to
put the unwary on their guard, against the
deleterious effects of flavouring culinary
dishes with that baneful herb, the Cherry
" I am, with respect, your's, Sir,
" THOMAS LIDIARD*."
* Literary Chronicle, No. 2% p. 348. 1819,
POISONOUS CUSTARD. 331
What person of sense or prudence, then,
would trust to the discretion of an ignorant
cook, in mixing so dangerous an ingredient
in his puddings and creams ? Who but a
maniac would choose to season his victuals
The water distilled from cherry laurel
leaves is frequently mixed with brandy and
other spirituous liquors, to impart to them
the flavour of the cordial called noyeau
(see also page 261).
This fluid, though long in frequent use
as a flavouring substance, was not known
to be poisonous until the year 1728; when
the sudden death of two women, in Dublin,
after drinking some of the common distilled
cherry laurel water, demonstrated its de-
MUSHROOMS have been long used in
sauces and other culinary preparations ; yet
there are numerous instances on record of
the deleterious effects of some species of
these fungi, almost all of which are fraught
with poison*. Pliny already exclaims
against the luxury of his countrymen in thia
article, and wonders what extraordinary
pleasure there can be in eating such danger-
But if the palate must be indulged with
these lethal luxuries, or, as Seneca calls
them, " voluptuous poison J," it is highly ne-
* Fungi plerique veneno turgent. Linn. Amsen. Acid.
t Quae voluptas tanta ancipitks cibi? Plin. Nat.
Hist. xxii. 23.
J Sen. Ep. 96.
POISONOUS MUSHROOM*. 333
cessary that the mild eatable mushrooms
should be gathered by persons skilful
enough to distinguish the good from the
false, or poisonous, which is not always the
case; nor are the characters which distin-
guish them strongly marked.
The following statement is published by
Mr. Glen, surgeon, of Knightsbridge :
" A poor man, residing in Knightsbridge,
took a walk in Hyde Park, with the inten-
tion of gathering some mushrooms. He col-
lected a considerable number, and, after
stewing them, began to eat them. He had
finished the whole, with the exception of
about six or eight, when, about eight or ten
minutes from the commencement of his meal,
he was suddenly seized with a dimness, or
mist before his eyes, a giddiness of the Lead,
with a general trembling and sudden loss of
334 POISONOUS MUSHROOMS.
power ; so much so, that he nearly fell off
the chair; to this succeeded, loss of recol-
lection ; he forgot where he was, and all the
circumstances of his case. This deprivation
soon went off, and he so far rallied as to be
able, though with difficulty, to get up, with
the intention of going to Mr.Glen for assist-
ance a distance of about five hundred
yards : he had not proceeded more than half
way, when his memory again failed him : he
lost his road, although previously well ac-
quainted with it. He was met by a friend,
who with difficulty learned his state, and
conducted him to Mr. Glen's house. His
countenance betrayed great anxiety ; he
reeled about, like a drunken man, and was
greatly inclined to sleep ; his pulse was low
and feeble. Mr. Glen immediately gave
him an emetic draught. The poison had so
diminished the sensibility of the stomach,
POISONOUS MUSHROOMS. 335
that vomiting did not take place for nearly
twenty minutes, although another draught
had been exhibited. During this interval
his drowsiness increased to such a degree,
that he was only kept awake by obliging
him to walk round the room with assistance:
he also, at this time, complained of distress-
ing pains in the calves of his legs. Full w>-
miting was at length produced. After the
operation of the emetic, he expressed him-
self generally better, but still continued
drowsy. In the evening Mr. Glen found
him doing well."
The following case is recorded in the Me-
dical Transactions, vol. ii.
" A middle-aged man having gathered
what he called champignons, they were
stewed, and eaten by himself and his wife ;
their child also, about four years old, ate a
little of them, and the sippets of bread which
were put into the liquor. Within five mi-
nutes after eating them, the man began to
stare in an unusual manner, and was unable
to shut his eyes. All objects appeared to
him coloured with a variety of colours. He
felt a palpitation in what he called his sto-
mach ; and was so giddy that he could
hardly stand. He seemed to himself swelled
all over his body. He hardly knew what
he did or said ; and sometimes was unable
to speak at all. These symptoms continued
in a greater or less degree for twenty-four
hours; after which, he felt little or no dis-
order. Soon after he perceived himself ill,
one scruple of white vitriol was given him,
and repeated two or three times, with which
he vomited plentifully.
" The woman, aged thirty-nine, felt all
the same symptoms, but in a higher degree.
She totally lost her voice and her senses,
POISONOUS MUSHROOMS. 337
and was either stupid, or so furious that it
was necessary she should be held. The
white vitriol was offered to her, of which she
was capable of taking but very little; how-
ever, after four or five hours, she was much
recovered: but she continued many days
far from being well, and from enjoying her
former health and strength. She frequently
fainted for the first week after; and there
was, during a month longer, an uneasy sense
of heat and weight in her breast, stomach,
and bowels, with great flatulence. Her
head was, at first waking, much confused ;
and she often experienced palpitations,
tremblings, and other hysteric affections;
to $11 which she had ever before been a
" The child tMf some convulsive agita-
tions of his arms, but was otherwise little
338 POISONOUS MUSHROOMS.
affected. He was capable of taking half a
scruple of ipecacuanha, with which he vo-
mited, and was soon perfectly recovered."
THE edible mushroom is the basis of the
sauce called mushroom catsup ; a great pro-
portion of which is prepared by gardeners
who grow the fungi. The mushrooms em-
ployed for preparing this sauce are gene-
rally those which have not found a ready
sale in the market, and are in a putrified
state ; for no vegetable substance is liable to
so rapid a spontaneous decomposition as
mushrooms. In a few days after they have
been gathered from the dung-bed on which
they grow, they become the habitation of
myriads of in&rcts ; and, if even the fresh
mushroom be attentively examined, it will
frequently be found to swarm with life.
ALTHOUGH we have already made some
remarks on the sophistication of milk (page
302), the following additional statement may
not be deemed superfluous.
The most correct method of ascertaining
the different qualities of milk, or the rela-
tive richness of different kinds of milk, is
by means of a simple instrument, lately
constructed at the suggestions of Sir Joseph
It consists of any number of cylindrical
glass tubes of the same internal diameter,
which is generally about half an inch, or J
340 ADULTERATION OF MILK.
of an inch ; and about 10 or 12 inches long.
They are closed at one end, and open, and
a little flanched at the other, like the test
tubes used by chemists, and are mounted on
a stand in the same manner. At the distance
of about 10 inches from the bottom of each
tube is a line or mark, with 0, or zero, placed
opposite it, and from this point the tube is
graduated into tenths of an inch, and num-
bered downwards for 2 or 3 inches, so that
each division is iJo^ 1 of the capacity of the
If several of the tubes are filled with milk
at the same time, and placed at the same
temperature, the cake of cream will form at
the top, and its quantity or percentage will
be read off by mere inspection.
In this way experiments may be made on
the relative quantities of cream produced
ADULTERATION OP MILK. 341
by different systems of feeding, or by dif-
ferent animals' feed, and placed under dif-
ferent circumstances. A standard milk,
with which all other samples are to be
compared, may readily be fixed by saying
what lactometer strength it shall possess.
From experiments we have made with
several samples of genuine skimmed coun-
try milk, we are authorised to state, that
the London milk was found by no means
to be so very much inferior to the country
skimmed milk, as might perhaps be ex-
pected. The tests by the lactometer never
indicate more than from 8 to 10 per cent,
ISINGLASS may be considered as an ali-
mentary substance employed in dometie
economy. By boiling isinglass in water, it
becomes dissolved, and furnishes a mild
tremulous jelly, which, when seasoned with
cream, bitter almonds, and sugar, is called
blanc-mange; and when seasoned with
lemon juice, sugar, and aromatics, forms
the basis of many delicacies for the table.
It is also employed in domestic use in the
clarification of various liquors ; and if small
shreds are thrown into boiling coffee, it
renders it clear in a few minutes.
ADULTERATION OF ISINGLASS. 343
This substance is frequently adulterated
with shreds of the skins of the dried blad-
der of horses, and with other animal mem-
branes. This fraud may be detected by the
shreds not dissolving when boiled in water.
Genuine isinglass should be totally soluble
without leaving any filaments.
The best isinglass is perfectly transpa-
rent ; it occurs in commerce twisted in the
form of a lyre or a heart ; and the worst is
formed into the shape of pancakes.
CINNAMON is often adulterated with cassia
bark, or by mixing 1 with the genuine cinna-
mon, a portion of cinnamon bark which
has been deprived of its essential oil by
The best cinnamon is rather pliable, and
ought not much to exceed stout writing
paper in thickness. It is of a light yellow-
ish colour; it possesses a sweet taste, not
so hot as to occasion pain, and not suc-
ceeded by any aftertaste. The inferior
kind is distinguished by being thicker, of
a darker and brownish colour, hot and pun-
ADULTERATION OF CINNAMON. 345
gent when chewed, and succeeded by a
disagreeable bitter after-taste. The cassia
bark, which greatly resembles the true cin-
namon, is thicker, and of a coarser texture,
and breaks short and smooth, whilst true
cinnamon breaks fibrous and splintery.
Cassia has a slimy mucilagenous taste, and
without any of the roughness of the true
GENUINE mustard, either in powder, or in
the state of a paste ready for vise, is perhaps
rarely to be met with in the shops. The
article sold under the name of patent mus-
tard, is usually a mixture of mustard and
common wheaten flour, with a portion of Cay-
enne pepper, and a large quantity of bay
salt, made with water into a paste, ready for
use. Some manufacturers adulterate their
mustard with raddish-seed and pease flour.
It has often been stated, that a fine yellow
colour is given to mustard by means of tur-
meric. We doubt the truth of this assertion*
The presence of the minutest quantity of
ADULTERATION OF MUSTARD. 347
turmeric may instantly be detected, by add-
ing to the mustard a few drops of a solution
of potash, or any other alcali, which changes
the bright yellow colour, to a brown or deep
Two ounces and a half of Cayenne pep-
per, l|lb of bay salt, 81b of mustard flour,
and ltb of wheaten flour, made into a stiff
paste, with the requisite quantity of water
in which the bay-salt is previously dissolved,
forms the patent mustard, sold in pots.
The salt and Cayenne pepper contribute
materially to the keeping of ready-made
There is therefore nothing deleterious in
the usual practice of adulterating this com-
modity of the table. The fraud only tends
to deteriorate the quality and flavour of the
genuine article itself.
THIS article is frequently nothing else
than a mixture of the worst kind of gum
arabic, called Indian or Barbary gum, im-
ported chiefly for the use of making shoe-
blacking. A solution of the genuine Spa-
nish liquorice juice is mixed with a solution
of Barbary gum; and the mixture, after being
inspissated to a proper consistence, is again
made up into cylindrical rolls, which, whilst
still moist, are covered with bay-leaves, and
re-packed in chests, to resemble in every re-
spect the genuine Spanish liquorice juice,
imported from Catalonia. It is difficult to
ADULTERATION OF SPANISH LIQUORICE. 349
detect this fraud. Genuine Spanish liquo-
rice should be perfectly black, brittle when
cold, and break with a smooth and glassy
fracture ; it should not become sensibly
clammy or damp, on exposure in a dry
place ; it should have a sweet taste, without
empyreuma; and be soluble in water, with-
out leaving any residue.
MANY kinds of viands are frequently im-
pregtiated with copper, in consequence of
the employment of cooking utensils made
of that metal. By the use of such vessels
in dressing food, we are daily liable to be
poisoned; as almost all acid vegetables, as
well as sebaceous or pinguid substances^
employed in culinary preparations, act upon
copper, and dissolve a portion of it; and
too many examples are met with of fatal
consequences having ensued from eating
food which had been dressed in copper
POISONOUS FOOD. 351
vessels not well cleaned from the oxid of
copper which they had contracted by being
exposed to the action of air and moisture.
The inexcusable negligence of persons
who make use of copper vessels has been
productive of mortality, so much more ter-
rible, as they have exerted their action
on a great number of persons at once.
The annals of medicine farnish too many
examples in support of this assertion, to
render it necessary to insist more upon it
Mr. Thiery, who wrote a thesis on the
noxious quality of copper, observes, that
" our food receives its quantity of poison in
the kitchen by the use of copper pans and
dishes. The brewer mingles poison in our
beer, by boiling it ill copper vessels. The
sugar-baker employs copper pans; the
352 FOOD POISONED
pastry-cook bakes our tarts in copper
moulds ; the confectioner uses copper ves-
sels; the oilman boils his pickles in copper
or brass vessels, and verdigrise is plenti-
fully formed by the action of the vinegar
upon the metal.
" Though, after all, a single dose be nojt
mortal, yet a quantity of poison, however
small, when taken at every meal, must pro-
duce more fatal effects than are generally
apprehended; and different constitutions
are differently affected by minute quantities
of substances that act powerfully on the
The author of a tract, entitled, " Serious
Reflections on the Dangers attending the
Use of Copper Vessels," asserts that a nu-
merous and frightful train of diseases is
occasioned by the poisonous effects of per-
BY COPPER VESSELS. 353
nicious matter received into the stomach
insensibly with our victuals.
Dr. Johnston* gives an account of the
melancholy catastrophe of three men being
poisoned, after excruciating sufferings, in
consequence of eating food cooked in an
unclean copper vessel, on board the Cy-
clops frigate; and, besides these, thirty-
three men became ill from the same cause.
The following casef is related by Sir
George Baker, M.D.
" Some cyder, which had been made in
a gentleman's family, being thought too
sour, was boiled with honey in a brewing
vessel, the rim of which was capped with
lead. All who drank this liquor were
* Johnston's Essay on Poison, p. 102.
t Medical Transactions, vol. i. p. 213. See also
Serious Reflections on the Dangers attending the Use
of Copper Vessels, p. 15.
354 FOOD POISONED
seized with a bowel colic, more or less
violently. One of the servants died very
soon in convulsions; several others were
cruelly tortured a long time. The master
of the family, in particular, notwithstanding
all the assistance which art could give
him, never recovered his health, but died
miserably, after having almost three years
languished under a most tedious and in-
Too much care and attention cannot be
taken in preserving all culinary utensils of
copper, in a state unexceptionably fit for
their destined purpose. They should be
frequently tinned, and kept thoroughly
clean; nor should any food ever be suffered
to remain in them for a longer time than is
absolutely necessary to their preparation
for the table. But the sure preventive of
BY COPPER VESSELS. 355
its pernicious effect, is, to banish copper
utensils from the kitchen altogether.
The following wholesome advice on this
subject is given to cooks by the author of
the excellent cookery book* we have be-
" Stew-pans and soup-kettles should be
examined every time they are used; these,
and their covers, must be kept perfectly
clean and well tinned, not only on the in-
side, but about a couple of inches on the
outside; so much mischief arises from their
getting out of repair ; and, if not kept nicely
tinned, all your work will be in vain ; the
broths and soups will look green and dirty,
and taste bitter and poisonous, and will be
spoiled both for the eye and palate, and
* The Cook's Oracle, p. 91.
356 POISONOUS FOOD,
your credit will be lost; and as the health,
and even the life, of the family depends
upon this, the cook may be sure her em-
ployer had rather pay the tin-man's bill
than the doctor's."
The senate of Sweden, in the year 1753,
prohibited copper vessels, and ordered that
none but such as were made of iron should
be used in their fleet and armies.
VARIOUS kinds of food used in domestic
economy, are liable to become impregnated
The glazing- of the common cream-co-
loured earthen ware, which is composed of
an oxid of lead, readily yields to the action
of vinegar and saline compounds ; and there-
fore the jars and pots of this kind of stone
ware, are wholly unfit to contain jellies of
fruits, marmalade, and similar conserves.
Pickles should in no case be deposited in
cream-coloured glazed earthenware.
The custom which still prevails in some
358 FOOD POISONED
parts of this country of keeping milk in lea-
den vessels for the use of the dairy, is very
" In Lancashire* the dairies are furnished
with milk-pans made of lead : and when Mr.
Parks expostulated with some individuals on
the danger of this practice, he was told that
leaden milk-pans throw up the cream much
better than vessels of any other kind,
" In some parts of the north of England it
is customary for the inn-keepers to prepare
mint-salad by bruising and grinding the ve-
getable in a large wooden bowl with a ball
of lead of twelve or fourteen pounds weight.
In this operation the mint is cut, and portions
of the lead are ground off at every revo-
lution of the ponderous instrument. In the
* Parks's Chemical Essays, vol. v. p. 193.
BY LEADEN VESSELS. 359
same county^ it is a common practice to have
brewing-coppers constructed with the bot-
tom of copper and the whole sides of lead."
The baking of fruit tarts in cream-co-
loured earthenware* and the salting and
preserving of meat in leaden pans, are no
less objectionable. All kinds of food which
contain free vegetable acids, or saline pre-
parations, attack utensils covered with a
glaze, in the composition of which lead
enters as a component part. The leaden
beds of presses for squeezing the fruit in
cyder countries, have produced incalcula-
ble mischief. These consequences never
follow, when the lead is combined with tin ;
because this metal, being more eager for
oxidation, prevents the solution of the lead.
When we consider the various unsus-
pected means by which the poisons of lead
300 POISONOUS FOOD*
and copper gain admittance into the human
body, a very common but dangerous in-
stance presents itself: namely, the practice
of painting toys, made for the amusement
of children, with poisonous substances, viz.
red lead, verdigrise, &c. Children are apt
to put every thing, especially what gives
them pleasure, into their mouths ; the paint-
ing of toys with colouring substances that
are poisonous, ought therefore to be abo-
lished; a practice which lies the more open
to censure, as it is of no real utility.
Joseph Mallett, Printer, 59, Wardour-street, Soho, London.